The Snowshoe Hare

Born in early summer, the hare had witnessed the onslaught of predators from above.  During these warm months, goshawks, great horned owls and golden eagles among other birds had perched high on the spruce trees, scanning for the slight movement that would signal a tasty treat.  Staying within or close to willow thickets, the young hare grew, avoiding these aerial assaults.  Leaves began to encompass the hare’s habitat, while its fur slowly changed from brown to white.  It was a change of seasons and the hare had been one of the luckier ones to have made it to winter.  As weeks passed, bodies of water froze and snow fell, leaving a white landscape that provided perfect camouflage for the young hare.  Most of the aerial predators had left with the falling leaves, spread out to other regions in search of food.  The great horned owls still remained, but they had not been seen in the area for some time.

The hare had become bolder, feeding out in the open more and more frequently.  Eventually, the hare came across a new area to feed, the creek bed.  With its frozen layer of ice, the hare would be able to access virgin vegetation, inaccessible in the summer months.  It didn’t offer great protection from predators, but at this time it didn’t matter.  For a couple weeks, the hare moved up and down the bank, reaching up on its hind legs to eat the fresh bark from the alders that bordered the creek.  Late every evening, the hare would tuck in as close to the alders as possible, using their meager cover as protection while it rested before moving on.

One night while the hare was resting, a lynx had slowly and silently edged its way down the creek.  Hugging the banks, it used the vegetation as a shield.  There was a light dusting of snow above the ice and with it the lynx was able to move forward with ease while searching for a meal.  was within a few leaps of the hare before it finally sighted its prey.   Suddenly, the hare awoke with a start.  While the lynx had been approaching, a faint wind moving down creek had filled its nostrils with the predator’s stench.  The hare remained frozen in place as it attempted to locate the lynx, hoping that its white coat against the now would prevent it from being seen.  Sighting the threat, the hare realized it was too late.  The lynx was well nearer than what was comfortable and was continually closing the gap.  The hare bolted from its position.  One quick leap. Two.  Crash.  With two leaps of its own, the lynx had landed on the hare, smashing it into the ice and using its jaws to kill it almost instantaneously.

On the ice, a few tufts of fur, fallen alder twigs, scat and the hare’s tracks were all that remained.  Telling the story of the life that once was.

 

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