Animals In Appalachia Appalachia

Tracks in the Snow

three people walking in the snowy woods

Big Christmas snow of 2010

There sure hasn’t been any snow to track animals in this Christmas. It was a balmy 60 degrees in Brasstown yesterday.

Even though there wasn’t any snow, another recent incident reminded me of the story B.Ruth wrote about our walk in the snow back in 2010 when we did get a big snow for Christmas.

Two Days After Christmas or In Cougars we trust… written by B. Ruth.

Two days atter Christmas
When all thru the woods,

All critters where stirring,
in our neighborhood…

The stockins’ come down from
the chimley whar warmed.
In hope of a jaunt in the snowstorm.

The young’ns were restless all tired of their sleds
as visions of snow cream danced in their heads..

And Ma in her kerchief since she lost her hat.
Pa pulled on his bootstraps, he’ll find it ..I’d bet!..

When out on the trail there arose such a clatter
But it was just jawin’ from Chitter and Chatter!

Away to the forked path, which way should we turn.
Leftways or rightways we had something to larn…

Them flurries they fell on the breast of the snow,
Give such a glisten to limbs that hung low…

When what to our wanderin’ eyes should appear,
Trace of a cotton-tail, “Yes dear, right thar!”

Tippers’ shutter was goin’ click, click, click!
Deer hunter come up to them lively and quick!

When huge paw prints come close into view,
he whistled and shouted,
“See here you two!”

I’d say its a ‘Panter’ or ‘painter’, cougar or cat tracks,
But I’m not too sure, let’s think about that..

As he was lookin’ he called them by name,
“No Stasher, no Boomer, No ‘coon, or Coyote that’s been lamed…
Nor Br’er bear, ‘ner fox vixen or Civet, or deer
“I’m bamboozled, but don’t panic, Ya hear!”…

As thoughts of the animal swirled all about,
The wind hit blowed thus with no doubt,

Obstacles flew like the screams of the girls
to mount in the sky and “boogered“ their curls!

To the top of the ridge, to the top of the bald,
“Stop eating the snow Chitter we have to go!”

So onward they plod, the left course did choose,
Pa shouldering his ‘smoker’ and skinnin’ knife too…

And then in a inklin’ the paws they did cross,
It had leaped ore the path a ways where they’d walked.

As I drew in my breath and was turning around,
In the curve of the roadway “spooked” prints did abound!

Dressed all in fur, from its head to its foot,
Tawny, long whiskered, long tail, hope it stays put!…

A bundle of mystery was too soon forgotten.
The crunch of the snow, made us tighten our ‘boggans.

Their eyes how they twinkled, their words were so cheery,
Remember White Christmas and hold to those dearly.

Until the tracks again were drawn in the snow,
They came from above us to stalk us below!

A thought was inspired as Pa said tongue-in-cheek,
“If hit’s an Ewah, it may have no teeth!”…

Deer Hunter’s so funny, the girls laughed it’s chilly,
The way to the house is long and its hilly.

We jumped it I know n’since it has snowed,
The tracks may foller us all the way home!

A blink of her eye and a step on ahead,
Tipper was footin’ it to tell Pap what’d been said.

They spoke not a word as downward they worked,
Hoping that no one would think them as jerks!

And layin’ the questions aside for a pose,
An aura gave nod up the mountain arose,

A squall from the treetops encircled the earth,
Away we flew home ending the search!

No huntsman has seen one I’ve heard them explain,
I’m sure that the spirit of Cougars remain…

Fer when we retired and the coats were all hung…
A ‘Paniters’ short hair was wedged on the heel of the gun!..


One day next week I’ll tell you the story that reminded me of B.Ruth’s snowy tale.


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  • Reply
    December 26, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Loved both poems. Thanks for sharing them.
    Happy New Year to all.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 26, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    I miss seeing B.Ruth’s comments every day. She is a fountain of knowledge! I think she might have defected to Facebook but I don’t go there.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    December 26, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    B. Ruth you are one talented lady!
    There have been several cougar sightings in KY. My sister seen one last year at Grayson Reservoir in Carter Co. KY.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2019 at 11:57 am

    I loved the poem! We have bobcats around central Virginia, but they are elusive. Mountain lions are in the western part of the state in the mountains. We had a kestrel sitting on our back fence last week, and a red shouldered hawk lives in our neighborhood, not to mention rabbits and squirrels. I’m in the suburbs, and I enjoy our critters. It was in the 50s at our house yesterday, supposed to hit 60 on Saturday.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    December 26, 2019 at 11:42 am

    I enjoyed your take on seeing the cougar tracks and Beverly’s poem. Her and Roy are friends of mine.

    Before daddy bought the place, he was Squirrel Hunting up in Trim Cove with his dog, ole Queen. They saw three bears, a Mother and two Cubs. Queen took one look and beat daddy home, she didn’t want anything to do with those Bears. …Ken

  • Reply
    December 26, 2019 at 11:27 am

    A poem for a poem.
    I discovered this poem and thought you might like it too. Then, lo and behold, you posted a poem today. – So, for mountain poets and poetry readers . . .

    Tell Me, by Jean Toomer
    Tell me, dear beauty of the dusk,
    When purple ribbons bind the hill,
    Do dreams your secret wish fulfill,
    Do prayers, like kernels from the husk

    Come from your lips? Tell me if when
    The mountains loom at night, giant shades
    Of softer shadow, swift like blades
    Of grass seeds come to flower. Then

    Tell me if the night winds bend
    Them towards me, if the Shenandoah
    As it ripples past your shore,
    Catches the soul of what you send.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2019 at 11:11 am

    My brother told me of when he and his wife were courting (they’ve been married 56 years) one night they were sitting in her living room when they heard an ear splitting scream out in the woods somewhere, that made his hair stand up – like a high pitched woman’s scream. She told him that they heard that occasionally. And one night as they got to her house at the end of a date her dad’s hunting dogs were having a fit and trying to tear out of the pen. Sounded like every dog in the county was after something down in the woods. Occasionally anecdotes like this come up here in Northeast Mississippi.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Sadly, we didn’t see any tracks or snow this Christmas. We did set a record for heat when the thermometer reached 69 degrees in Louisville and a bit higher out here in the country where I live. My memories of Christmas as a child always seemed to include snow. There is nothing more exciting than finding tracks in the snow and trying to identify them.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2019 at 9:07 am

    I remember when you and your family took that walk in the woods and came upon those paw prints. There was no doubt in my mind that your husband knew exactly what made those paw prints. People would probably say there is no panthers in NE MS, but years ago my father, brother and I were driving through a dense forest and saw a black panther leap from the road into a dense row of shrubs that ran into the forest. Having seen mountain lions in the zoo all my life, I never expected to see one in MS – maybe California, Colorado, or Wyoming. Anyway my father and brother were hunters and we all were stunned but there is no mistaking a mountain lions tail and it no way looks like any dog or large house cat. Where I was in NE MS is where the Appalachian mountains that ends in GA sort of rolls across N AL and that small portion of NE MS with threads of hills. They say there are black panthers or mountain lions in Florida. I just know I don’t what to meet one out on a walk in the mountains or hills. lol B. Ruth wrote a wonderful poem about your excursion.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 26, 2019 at 8:36 am

    What a wonderful Christmas story, thanks B.Ruth, and so near factual!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 26, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Thanks for posting this again…I enjoyed rereading…Those were good times…LOL There is nothing like taking a long walk on a old forgotten mountain trail or overgrown road…It seems that ever little indention appears to be some type of critter tracks. I love the quiet when you stop and hear a limb shift and drop snow clumps about. You look quick and listen to make sure the sound wasn’t a varmit of some sort…
    I hope you and all of your family had a wonderful “tropical” Christmas…The only thing resembling a winter weather Christmas in our parts, was looking out the window to (deep/thick) low lying gloomy, grey clouds! If one didn’t look down to the earth, one could pretend it was a cold snowy day, especially with the air-conditioner running chasing out the (overwarms) from the oven and stove eyes of dinner cooking…LOL
    Happy New Year as well,
    Thanks for this post..

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 26, 2019 at 8:18 am

    I would not be too surprised for a cougar to appear most anywhere. They are roamers and cover a lot of ground but, by the same, token are no long in one place, so seen and gone. Only last year Tennessee Wildlife Resources finally confirmed cougar in the state because they had pictures from wildlife cameras. I know of two reported sightings in the Cohutta Mountains of northwest Georgia.

    Anyway, yesterday we were out hiking in shirt sleeves. There were lots of folks out enjoying the weather, especially after the days of rain, fog and overcast.

  • Reply
    sheryl paul
    December 26, 2019 at 7:47 am

    So cute, thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    December 26, 2019 at 7:32 am

    Oh that’s a wonderful story-poem! Thank you for sharing it, B. Ruth and Tipper!
    Whether or not there are mountain lions living in my rural part of Massachusetts is a topic that never seems to get worn out. In fact when I met someone from MA Wildlife many years ago he was one of the very few people I’ve met who was familiar with the exact area where I live, because he had once been sent out to investigate a lion sighting right at my property! I told him I could guess exactly which day it had been – and I was right – because it was the one time my Irish Wolfhound had slipped out the gate and ambled along the road for a little while before I caught up with her. Someone saw that big animal with a tawny coat and very long tail, and reported a lion.
    I’m not saying no one has ever seen a mountain lion here, but they sure didn’t see one that day 🙂

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