Snow flurries hit her face.
Turning, she raises and sniffs the air.
She senses the change.
Leaving the berries upon which she was feeding,
She keeps moving upwards.
Instinctively she knows that time is short.
She must start preparing.
Keeping close to the forested cover,
She moves toward the White-Bark Pines at the very top.
Would there be nuts upon which to finish her feasting?
Not aware of her inter-relationship
With the Red Squirrel -
Who drops the cones and caches the nuts for her to raid.
She moves ever upward,
Sensing that they will be there.
Winter is coming but summer and fall had been rich for feasting.
Her coat glistens and the fat rolls
Gently beneath her fur.
Sleep is a problem now.
She fights an increasing drowsiness.
Time is not yet quite right
For her to enter the den.
That upward sloping hole -
Dug on a north slope,
Up on the tree line beneath the roots of a fir.
It will take a major storm to put her there.
One that will cover her footprints,
And leave the landscape buried,
Her little haven well hidden
And insulated by the snow until spring.
It is there that she
Will bring forth the new cubs.
A new generation to face the world.
Time is not yet quite right.
Now she must fight on -
Fight this impending torpor - and feast,
That things might be right for the new generation.
The new hope for her species.
(Carolyn & Dave Hanks)