Encounter: A poem

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Encounter

Morning arrives

     blanketed in snow.

Unbidden, I wake to see

small clouds of breath

erupt from the nose

of a deer— I assume

his eyelashes

   are coated in ice.

We take these victories

   of life

         in stride,

             move our feet

       through the snow,

     marvel at the bulkiness

       of our tracks

compared to the sharp perfect

punctures of the deer’s

   in the new snow—

       Pour the coffee,

                       begin.


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“Equally thrilled and terrified, we began to organize 300 pounds of gear into the four pack boxes we would live out of for the next 82 days. Armed with a tent, iodine, maps, fencing pliers, an inordinate amount of mac and cheese, and Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, we set out across the Northern Great Plains.”

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The Prairie in Winter

Wheat field under snow in North Eastern Wyoming
Wheat field under snow in North Eastern Wyoming

Before you get too settled into spring, I wanted to put up a few shots taken from in and around the prairie this winter. Cloaked in quiet and snow, it’s an oddly reflective time to be out there. Something about the white horizons, or maybe the way pronghorns move through the snow as if it’s their theatre (which it is) in comparison to my plodding and trompling across the winter landscape, awkwardly, in heavy boots, falling through drifts trying to keep my chin and camera above water…

Here in Bozeman Sebastian and I are digging into final preparations before our departure in June. It’s all coggins tests, throwing out backs while shoeing horses, pouring over maps, somewhat frantic emailing, and no shortage of coffee. But spring, it seems, has finally decided to come, with the first prairie buttercups (Rananculus rhomboideus) spotted last week. Here’s to a good spring.

 

All photos © Sebastian Tsocanos and/or Robin Walter