Following animal tracks through the former grape trellis & into the woods, I pass between wire & shadows. The crusted snow tugs at my feet, as if to fix me in place like so many others.
I watch the way things surface & think of a snow-shark rearing a hammer head, or some other cryptozoological prodigy. It’s the shadows more than the sun that pull me uphill. The bright, still morning seems just right for a sighting.
Then on an unused game trail, I almost trip over a loop of new wire staked between two bushes. I freeze & stare.
This must be what the game laws call a cable restraint, as if it were simply a fancy kind of leash for recalcitrant canids. No wonder the songdogs here so rarely advertise their presence!
I reach down & pull it out by the roots, then spot the fresh bootprints on the other side. They are enormous.
I will track this creature to its den.