The Brant Tract is somber today. Trees are black, the sky heavy and grey like a layer of felt. Light comes from below, from the snow. Pine boughs curve out over colonnades and intertwine like patterns in stained glass worked in grisaille.
A jumble of tracks along the silent trail records the recent passage of dogs and their human companions on snowshoes and cross-country skis. Paths made by deer crisscross our human trail, as if it were invisible to them, and disappear into the forest interior. I never see these shy creatures as they move through their world and the shadows of ours. In the crystalline snow of March, their imprints are delicate and precise, like carvings in low relief. Pointed at the front with a line down the centre, they might be the marks of some large and improbable bird going the other way.
In a cedar copse between the pine plantation and the woods left to re-grow naturally, I come across a patch of bare earth. Numerous small spherical pellets reveal that this is where the deer herd sheltered for the night. Soon these rich brown droppings will mix with the fallen pine cones of last autumn and the mud of spring.
breaking through greyness
I had forgotten
The haiku was first published at Modern Haiga as part of a haiga, 2009 digital and print editions.