These are the paw-prints of a bounding deer-mouse on the dunes at Kehoe Beach, in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Each print a rune, a story of a life in sand, the darting bounds between clumps of sea-heather and dune grass. The shadows of passing ravens and hawks, the soft prowling of bobcats. I love to remember that each set of tracks, like this specific set, belongs to one individual, a single, unique deermouse, maybe a female heavy with babies in this springtime season, maybe a lone young male with a blind blue eye. This is not a general, anonymous "mouse." These are someone's footprints in the sand, like yours or mine. What was she seeking? Her leaps look like gentle letters, ink marks. Words, come alive, become embodied.
A coyote encounters the tracks of raccoon, which passed earlier in the morning, as the tide went out. He paused, putting weight in his front paws, then carried on through the mist and crash of waves in a regular side trot, maybe nosing for crabs in the tideline, maybe chasing after a pretty female coyote as the spring sun rose. His prints, the signs he etched to tell his story.
Coyote again, this time at McClure's Beach, the sand a little darker. Those are my footprints alongside, following, wanting to read the runes in the sand, wishing I knew who she was, touching that dip where the metacarpal pads press their bulk into the ground, sending my warm thoughts, wherever she is now.