A hidden winter meadow barely a half mile from the cottage, bright with new fallen snow. Such a place is starkly beautiful, and though it might appear barren at this time of year, it is full of life. Innumerable field mice and meadow voles make tunnels beneath the snow where they are insulated from winter’s intense chill and may find seeds and roots in plenty. Meanwhile, moles and shrews hunt them in a never ending chase. Above the snow rabbits and squirrels carry on through the winter and all the while foxes, coyotes and hawks hunt them. Porcupines keep to the trees, seeking bark and immature leaf buds. Deer meander through, nibbling the tips of spruce boughs laden with immature, nutritious seed and pollen cones as well as the bark of young birches and willows. Now and then a windswept place reveals a wealth of lichen, providing the deer more food and revealing a wealth of color.