A Good Hare Day

January 25, 2016

I once saw a snowshoe hare. It was on a June evening and I was driving home through the lingering summer solstice light. The brown-colored hare simply hopped across the road and disappeared into a tangle of bushes on the other side. It didn’t seem particularly alarmed or excited, but to me the event was special, because snowshoe hares really know how to hide themselves. For one thing, they are nocturnal. Even while foraging at night they stick to the woods and seek brushy cover as protection against predators. And then of course they have their famous, and beautiful, white fur camouflage for the snow.

While I have frequently encountered the tracks of snowshoe hares on winter hikes, I have never noticed them in our own home woods, until yesterday when there were a bunch of snowshoe hare trails. Following them led through a dense stand of balsam fir towards a big mound of stumps and cut brush that my neighbor had built up last fall…Good hare cover I thought. In the evening I wasn’t willing to leave the snug comfort of my armchair to go out looking for the hares…just knowing they were there somehow made the night seem more alive.

Are they moving now
through moonlight and fir shadows,
this morning’s sleeping hares?

Snowshoe hare trail

A snowshoe hare trail.

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