Up at the ranch last weekend, I took some pictures, quick, before spring springs. I love the way its winter-bare bones look. Before the cottonwoods and willows leaf out, the view goes further up the river and deeper into the trees. It's always a peaceful place, but for this moment before the trees and the river fill up with birds and critters, it seems suspended in a quiet waiting. When the snow melts and higher water comes to the river, everything living thing follows, and life gets loud.
The ranch is right at the foot of the mountains and is surrounded by protected land. Wildlife enjoys that protection and is abundant. Everybody's there and everybody's welcome. Some are shy, and some have no shame. For example, this very impressive 16-inch pile of plum pits begs the ago-old question, "Does a bear shit in the woods?"
The answer is, "No, he shits anywhere he wants to, including in our yard."
Here are some observations: 1) this scat is old and has had all winter to decompose, meaning it was much bigger last fall and its producer is a big bear, and 2) the white tape is the high-voltage electric fence. It's about four feet off the ground and packs enough of a wallop to keep the one-ton cows and their piles away from the house. It didn't seem to impress the bear at all. I mean, did he even notice it?
Now that spring is here, that big ol' bear is waking up.
He'll be back.