Snow Sand

Click to listen to the audio version — 3 minutes

“The deep snow is just like sand for the donkeys’ hooves; the donkeys browse tall grass and shrubs as they step through the heavy snow; the grains of snow-sand grind their hooves, front to back, side to side, and come spring they’ll have perfectly trimmed feet. When I come back  in  the spring, I won’t have anything to do except visit with you”. Matt Dumolt- Mule Springs Farm farrier 


The sun. The donkeys and I stepped methodically.  Grinding away, at a long narrow path made days before by my four-wheeler. I had tried to cut a path, so we could continue taking our daily walks.

Ziggy, the gray donkey led the way; I followed, but it was a balancing act. I had to place one foot directly in front of the other, instead of a little out to the side like humans normally do. Somehow the donkeys, with four legs, were able to skillfully manage a very narrow trail. Recall those sure-footed donkeys who carry visitors along ledge-path to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. 

For Chippo, the donkey behind, I was just another herd member.  If I stopped, he’d stop, but when we were walking sometimes he would be so close, I could feel his muzzle brush my body. It wouldn’t take much to topple me over. So, I’d make a backward swishing motion with my arms— like swishing a tail back and forth. Just as a mother donkey would do, to tell the young one “back off.” Chippo respected this message. Soon we’d be three— walking on— and all three perfectly spaced. 

Occasionally, I lost balance and stepped outside the deep rut. This was totally disconcerting, for if I stepped off-trail, I might break through or not. If not, it was a big step up-then back down. It was startling to crash threw though, a jolt, before I could regain the narrow path once more. Either way, it slowed us and tired me to step off path.

The sun was welcome, and it cast a deep light making white impossibly bright. Still, darker pocket-lines of elk tracks often traversed our path. And, I rested a while with Chippo resting too behind me.  I spied delicate, spidery tracks on the snow. The trail meandered; it might have been made by a mouse. Suddenly I thought of the Sahara desert and a caravan— bright hot sun and white sands as viewed from a thousand feet above. Imagine this! The tracks of camel in the desert as seen from above would reflect a similar pattern like the tiny trail I was seeing now. Sahara sands and snow sands sharing patterns in common. 

9 thoughts on “Snow Sand

  1. I didn’t know that snow would grind the hooves. Wonder if it manicures corgi toenails too. Very glad you made it through without a fracture. Good aerobics, that trudging. But I avoid it.

    1. I bet it would shape the Corgi nails if they could be out in the snow all of the time . 🙂 Yes, I am walking everyday, but still am quite careful. I forgot to mention I am wearing my Alaska cleated boots! I wear them everyday now through this type of weather. And, I guess you heard- we have more snow on the way. It’s similar, snow wise, to several years back…too similar.

  2. Another lovely tale, Sher… I love how you go walking with your donkeys – and that little description of how you swish your arm behind you to tell Chippo to back off, and of how you step off the path sometimes – it all makes it so vivid!

    1. Thanks Reggie– for some reason I did not get notification that you had commented, but I am seeing your comments now. I’m really glad you are enjoying the littlest lives of life from the farm. 🙂

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