So. Our property abuts a wildlife sanctuary with miles of beautiful trails for walking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. We literally step through the gate at the back of our horse pasture and we are there. It is one of things I love most about living here.

Christmas Day brought a beautiful fresh snowfall. The kind that sits on tree branches and muffles the sounds in the air. After the hub-bub of Christmas morning had subsided I knew I had to get my snowshoes on and head to the meadow. Picturesque snowfall undisturbed by man or beast on Christmas Day was too perfect to pass up, and I knew it wouldn’t last. Arctic air and stiff winds were forecast for later that day. The window of time was small, so I hurried.

Through the meadow I tramped heading for the trails of the sanctuary. The picture above is from the bridge that leads to the different trail heads. The river was still mostly unfrozen and snowed weighed down the dead grass on its banks. So pretty.

I wasn’t the first one to enjoy the solitude. A set of fresh snowshoe tracks, made by an invisible stranger, preceded me. At first I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t the one blazing the way, because, let’s be honest, there is something fun about making tracks in fresh snow. But once I was over that I actually felt glad that someone had gone before me.

I took this picture as I turned to go into the woods. The thing that got me as I turned this corner was the coziness of this narrow trail. It was like stepping into a picture perfect winter wonderland. Ahhh….

Following the tracks proved to have advantages. There were a few times on the trail that I noticed that the tracks seemed to stop their forward motion and turn to one side or the other. When I came to these spots I stopped and looked around. Almost every time the tracks halted it was to admire the view. Case in point…

The river was more narrow here and I’m sure it is almost obscured by bushes and leaves on trees in Spring and Summer. I would’ve missed it altogether had it not been for the tracks before me.

Having this invisible stranger trekking before me brought a measure of comfort – you know, if I missed a trail marker I could be confident I was going the right way! And it also brought with it the advantage of having someone else point out things I shouldn’t miss, even if that wasn’t their intention when they set out that day.

It made me think of God and how He goes before us on the path of life. Often times He marks the path clearly, and other times we simply must follow His leading. He’ll even show us where to pause and pay attention to things He knows we wouldn’t want to miss. Pretty cool, eh? 🙂

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:8

I love that, don’t you?