Over and Under the Snow…Again

My students and I tromped into the Adirondack woods on snowshoes for our annual animal tracking excursion at the Visitors Interpretive Center at Paul Smiths.  It was breathtakingly snowy and white, as always.

I’ve loved this field trip since we started taking it five or six years ago, but this year was extra special because I got to tell the naturalist who works with our kids that his trip inspired a picture book.  You see, during last year’s field trip, we spotted a set of mouse tracks that disappeared next to a crevice in the snow, and that sparked a discussion of what goes on in the subnivean zone…the network of airy tunnels that forms between the ground and the packed snow.  I was enchanted.  And I loved that word…subnivean. 

On the bus ride home, I dug a pencil out of my backpack, smoothed out my wrinkled attendance sheet, and on the back of it, wrote a very rough draft of a story about a girl who goes cross country skiing and learns about that secret world under the snow.  I revised and tweaked and eventually sent it to my agent, who found my snowy little story a home at Chronicle Books.

Fast forward a year…

I just turned in my revision, based on a brilliant five-page editorial letter.  Chronicle has found an amazing illustrator for the book — Christopher Silas Neal.  This weekend, I’ll get to meet my editor in person, since we’re both attending the same retreat in Vermont. 

But first, I have one more day of hiking through the snowy woods, following the tracks that tell stories in the snow.

Poetry Friday – Farewell Winter Edition…

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

   -from “Reluctance” by Robert Frost

Frost wrote this poem with autumn in mind, but for me, his words are just as relevant in late March.

When it comes to the end of winter, I am in a happy, catch-a-snowflake-on-your-tongue minority.  I am a hanger-on. 

This is a good thing where I live, way up north on Lake Champlain, because winter does some serious hanging-on in these parts, too.  Lots of  people have started complaining about that.  But I still find myself hoping for one more fluffy snowstorm, even as the calendar stares down April.

On Monday, E and I drove into the Adirondacks in search of enough snow for one last cross country ski outing.  We found it at the Paul Smiths Visitors Interpretive Center – a site with miles and miles of beautiful trails.  This one was our favorite –

A bridge stretches all the way across the marsh, and then the trail loops around the other side.  We spotted snowshoe hare, deer, fox, red squirrel, and fisher tracks along the way.

Soon, the tulips will bloom and the ice will clear out of the lake enough for kayaking, and I’ll be excited about that.  But this week, it was a gift to have one more winter day in the woods.