Kickass in the winter deer yard

Kickass, the doorstop dog, says the keeper is slowly emerging from his deep freeze stupor, and remembers the time—some 40 or so years ago, when, in what must have been a mental arctic vortex, he arranged to spend the night in a deer yard on the Bad River just down from Lake Superior.  Dropped off in the late afternoon by a snowmobiling friend, the keeper made a small depression in the four-foot snow cover and crawled into a heavy down-filled sleeping bag, leaving only a breathing hole, and he slowly became part of the wild landscape.  It was one of the keeper’s more fascinating nights—the temperature gradually getting down close to 30 below, the shadowy movement of deer on the nearby trails, a cold moon over it all, and—toward morning, the dynamite-like blasts of several trees exploding from the temperature extremes.  In the morning there was the momentary anxiety of hands too cold to buckle on the snowshoes necessary to navigate the two miles out to the road.  At the start of that frigid slog, the morning was suddenly filled with the chorus of coyotes in obvious pursuit of a snowshoe rabbit or maybe a young deer that had strayed off the established trails.  It is a decades old memory, but the present arctic blast freshenes it up as if it had all happened yesterday. The keeper wishes it were so.

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