Summary – Chapter Fifteen ‘Winter Animals’
When the ponds were frozen, it gave him new routes and new views to explore. He could hear the cracking of the ground (which occurred because of the frost) and also describes the sounds of birds and foxes too.
The red squirrel, for instance, used to wake him at dawn as it crossed his roof. He also watched the squirrels and rabbits as they fed on the unripened corn that he threw outside. He says how the movements of a squirrel ‘imply spectators as much as those of a dancing girl’. He saw jays and chickadees pick up the kernels that the squirrels dropped and goes on to say how titmice would feed off crumbs.
He then describes hearing hounds which were involved in a fox hunt. A hunter told him of the time he heard hounds hunting alone and how they were amazed at coming across the dead fox the hunter had shot. This hunter also told him about Sam Nutting who used to hunt bears. Furthermore, he informed him that moose and wildcats would also frequent the area.
Analysis – Chapter Fifteen
The exploration of winter and the effects it has on the wildlife are continued as he describes the sounds and sights of primarily the squirrels but also the rabbits, jays and foxes. His focus is on the details of his observations and this encourages the readers to also have interest in what he sees. That is, our focus is similarly shifted to encompass events that we would generally overlook. By observing the behaviour of animals in this way, he demonstrates the possibility of spending time differently to the way that we have become accustomed in our present society (let alone at the time of writing).
Walden: Chapter 15