Sky Spinner Press is pleased to put up a prose poem written by our good friend, David Cost in New Mexico at the end of last year.
There was a snow fall last night, maybe two inches which covered yesterday’s
longer and larger snowfall. But last night’s was light snow, the kind we used to
dream of for skiing. Powder snow, light, fluffy, that if you blew on it it would
disappear like dandelion seeds we would blow away for good luck.
We live in the foothills below the ski basin which is 12,000 feet. We are at 7,300
feet. This morning with our two goldens, Basho, age 12, and Bronte, 8, I take the
steep slope on a trail across from our home that leads to a descending, unplowed
road. The sun is bright, shining and the rolling hills of snow sparkle a million glints
changing with each step.
This year I walk with two sticks that could be ski poles. My cleated shoes could
almost be ski boots. Gazing down at the narrow path below me, I think back to the
touch-offs down hundreds of slopes on countless mountains.
Along the way there are many fresh animal tracks. I see little skittery prints going
in unnerving directions all at once. Mice. And then there are the many predictable
patterns of paws, all at irregular lengths– two paws, one paw– two paws one paw–
which are the rabbits. These lead everywhere, come from everywhere.
Reaching the road, I see a line of long sweeping marks in the snow extending into
the distance. It looks as if giant pine boughs have etched the snow — one brush to
the left, one brush to the right, left right, left right — and at the end of each bough
there is a knot tying it to the center. It is a beautiful, not unlike a long garland.
When I investigate the center knots I find that each is a cloven track. Large hooves.
Further along I see a single, continuous line of linked tracks bending into the woods.
The marks appear to have been made confidently, deliberately, for each one is
perfectly stamped in the snow. They are almost two feet apart. I recognize them.
These are the tracks that coyotes used to make walking under the lift lines looking
We are lucky today. The dogs didn’t get lost. They came when called. There were no
cars on the road. The sun stayed out. The snow sparkled all the way. No doubt the
animals whose tracks I saw are safely home somewhere– wherever home might be.
We are home now too. The dogs are lying down licking the snow clumps sticking
between their paws. They seem content. They seem to be getting older.
December 15, 2012
Santa Fe, NM