In the Briar – Cottontail
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12” x 18”, acrylic, 1984
When I go for my daily cross-country ski during the winter months, I feel that we are living in a world of rabbits. Their tracks are everywhere. However, I seldom see them. They must hear me coming. Skiing or hiking with a dog does not help my rabbit observation either. I like all of the phases of winter except perhaps the soggy, drizzling thaw. But the most magic time is the morning after an all night, gentle snowfall. There must be no wind, and the flakes must be large and somewhat clinging. For some reason, everyone agrees that a fairyland is created. Every branch and every twig is enlarged and transformed to frothy white. It is as if the world is made of lace. It is all little archways, hollows and tunnels. The sense of space is multiplied. But it doesn't last long. A puff of wind, and the snowy burden falls, releasing a powdery shower and a ricocheting effect as the arches spring up and become trees and twigs again.

On one of these enchanting mornings, I was skiing and reading the tracks. Perhaps because my sound was muffled by the new snow and I was moving with a quiet reverence through such beauty in the world of white, I came upon a cottontail caught without camouflage. At any rate, I was able to spend many minutes with him. He would move and 'freeze' and I would glide up to him. He would move again, always keeping a twig or two between us. At last, as in the Uncle Remus story, he reached the brier patch. This was our last mutual glance before he disappeared where I could not follow.