In the year since my last walk through those woods, loggers had been in and out. The new cutting is a sharp contrast to the otherwise seemingly-constant, familiar look and feel of the place. Different. Not bad, just different.
Grandpa had been seeing wolves in the preceding weeks, and there was sign everywhere. They hadn’t bothered the sheep yet, but I imagine they can only resist the temptation for so long. In any case, there weren’t any deer where I was.
Which was okay. I didn’t have any wet work to do or any “shoot/don’t shoot” scenarios to deal with and I could focus on being home; I could take a long lunch break to visit with Grandma; explore new terrain, freshly exposed by the logging; I could savor the familiar weight of a favorite rifle in my hands; I could spend a minute taking a close-up photo of a wolf’s highway marker, already turning white from bleaching bone dust; I could wander familiar trails and stand on familiar boulders, sedan-sized glacial erratics, perfect for standing watch over a darkening treeline at dusk.