I knew we were going to have snow again. I knew and yet, I hoped that the weather person was wrong. I love an occasional snow. They were rare for me growing up in Texas. But this winter has really been more than I wanted.
I started out taking a few pictures but that wasn’t enough. After being snowed in several days – I live out a bit on a gravel drive that is way more than I would ever shovel – I decided that I needed some way to make this bearable. I have a small Buddha out in the front, so I would check out how far it was buried each day. Seeing the snow go down made me feel much better.
That still didn’t satisfy me and being a writer, I looked around for something else. And I found tracks. Or at least what I thought were tracks. But hard to tell what animal they might have been made from. So I investigated.
With my winter gear and snow boots, I trudged out into the 8 inches of snow and began to follow them. I finally found some tracks under a bit of cover that were clearer. A picture or two and I was back inside searching the internet for what made them.
Several clicks later and it turned out to be a hedgehog. There was a hedgehog that ventured across the country road I live on in the spring but I chased it off. They aren’t great to have around.
This was my first sighting that it was back. Time for more investigating. I knew the hedgehog traveled under my deck and probably weathered the storm there. But I wondered where it went next. Back on with the winter gear, I was outside searching. Sure enough, the hedgehog came out the far side, traveled over a meadow, by my shed and then into the trees. I didn’t see where it came out.
The next day I checked the tracks again.
This time I had cat tracks beside the first set. I wondered why the cat didn’t use the trail laid by the hedgehog.
The cat took a different route up over the deck and through the areas more protected from snow.
But I kept thinking about the hedgehog – and a bit about the cat. Could there be a picture book in there? Or maybe I was remembering one where a character followed tracks around – but possibly a fun kind of kid’s mystery. I may write something along those lines or after letting this all percolate for a while, I may go in a different direction. But at the end of the day, I was distracted and my brain was clicking away on the possibilities of a children’s story.
What about you? Has the long winter and all the snow sparked any story ideas for you?