Today was a gift, but not one I expected to have... and not one I really wanted. My granddaughter Stasia and my daughter-in-law Jess were planning to come down from New Hampshire for a visit but the weather forecast for tomorrow was so ominous, complete with blizzard warnings for the drive home, that mom prudently decided to postpone the trip. That left me with unexpected free time, so, in the afternoon with the temperatures above freezing, I drove to Babcock Ridge, strapped on my snowshoes, and headed off into the woods. Someone, a hiker and dog combo, had beaten me to the trail, but other than recent history, I had the refuge to myself. There were deer tracks, of course, but except for the occasional hoot of a Barred Owl and the manic calls of distant Pileated Woodpeckers, Babcock was otherwise quiet. Well, not quite. There were some accumulations of snow still left on the tree branches, but these were sagging in the relative warmth... sagging, and, of course, audibly dripping.