In the morning, instead of shooting straight over to the main building, I often take what I like to call "the scenic route" to breakfast. This entails a walk up an old logging road behind the intern chalet, across the top of the hill near the old Bundy Center for the Arts and back down next to a stream and the wickedest sledding hill on campus. I pop out of the woods somewhere around the solar shower and the composting privy. Since we've had some warmer temperatures this past weekend, the woods are beginning to look very spring-like. The air seems heavier but my vision is clearer, especially when the sun is out.
The recent rain has turned our snowshoe trails into rock hard roads and our old boot prints into potholes, so I was taking it kind of slowly today. Halfway through my descent, I detected movement below me. At first, I thought it was another intern poking around the trails, but it was a whitetail deer foraging the places where the snow has worn away to brown and green again. Upon watching her for a moment, I noticed more deer. There were actually five in a line working their way across the slope below me. They hadn't seen me yet, so I was able to observe their activities unnoticed. Once I continued down, they saw me and bounded off to the south, their white tails bobbing up and down like flags behind them. I stopped to watch them go, and the crunch of our fading footfalls gave way to the soft burbling of springs converging just down the trail.