How to Capture an Irresistible Snow Bunny

January is a pretty cold month here on the prairies.

The days are often clear, with bright blue skies that stretch from horizon to horizon. But its a bright pure blue. And the winds from the north pole can freeze your eyeballs in a few minutes if you don’t keep blinking.

It was one of those days — bright sun, cold blue sky and glistening snow — that my parents decided we needed to get out and exercise.

“Too much hanging around and playing with your new games,” Dad said. “Let’s strap on those new snowshoes and get some fresh air”

A week ago we had gone down to the Hudson Bay Trading store on 104th Avenue. Seemed kind of strange to me that in 1983 there was still a place in downtown Edmonton where trappers could come and sell their furs or buy snowshoes and traps and stuff like that.

Now don’t get me wrong. We aren’t trappers. Dad is a traveling photographer, and he’s often away for a week at a time, while Mom is a teacher. I end up during the day at a nursery school, which I love. We have a lot of fun, and I sometimes get to read stories to the other kids.

So we bundled up in our parkas, snow pants, boots, scarves, hats and mittens, packed up the car with our new snowshoes, and headed out to our friend Roger’s Mom’s farm. They lived a few miles out into the country, and I had never been there, or met them. Now, I’m kind of shy, and don’t feel comfortable meeting new people, but I knew that my good friend, Roger’s son Ralston, would be there, so it felt okay.

When we arrived at the farm and parked, Ralston and Liesel, his sister, were already waiting for us, dressed and with skis instead of snowshoes!

I’d never skied, but always wanted to try it. Lucky them!

Dad unloaded the car while Mom went to say hello to Roger and his parents. They were all on the front porch, and only Roger was dressed in outdoor clothes. I could see his mom was shivering, and ready to head indoors pretty quickly.

It was a bit of a struggle to get our snowshoes on — Dad had never done this before although Mom said she had used snowshoes a lot when she was little.

“You need to lift your foot high, and keep your legs just a little spread so you don’t tramp on the other snowshoe when you put your foot down,”Mom instructed. She showed me how to get the steps right, and we took off alongside the fence and into the field. Ralston and his sister were already ahead of us, zooming along on their skis. Skiing seemed so much easier that trying to manage these clumsy snowshoes!

The funny thing was, as we got into the field, it became easier and easier to manage these big webbed things on my feet. I really liked the tracks they made, and how I could go right over the deep snow and not struggle through it.

As we reached the edge of the field where a row of bushes and spruce trees grew, we saw tracks in the snow. And just then, a white furry bunny burst out from beneath a bush and zig-zagged down the field and back under the trees.

“Snowshoe rabbit!” Mom said.

I turned back to tell Dad, and just then he, always the photographer, snapped a photo of me, smiling and pink cheeked from the cold.

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