Friday, March 29, 2013

Busy Beavers

Spring and fall, in the morning, are the best times to walk around our river valley property. No bugs, for starters, and the nights are cold enough to freeze up the mud and puddles. The days are lovely, lovelier, admittedly, in the spring, but muddy. So very muddy.
We are inundated with wildlife now. The foxes have mated and the female is prowling around, looking for food to nourish her body; the eagles have mated and are building up their nests; the deer are in the pastures in droves; the geese are flying overhead. Soon, the bears will emerge from their hibernation.
We will see them in the back field, attacking ant hills. We will feel protective of the newborn fawns hiding in the pine plantation.
In the midst of all this, I walk.
As a writer who spends most of her time alone, I appreciate the company of others, even if they are wild animals who don't seek my company. Just knowing they are watching, listening is enough for me to feel not alone when I walk in what is, truly, their territory.

Two eagles, post "encounter". Top and on the left, in the shadow.

Back in the woods, the beavers are reappearing as the ice melts away. The young dog and I walked up the road to the beaver pond formed when they clogged the culvert and flooded the road. No sign of life under the smooth, dark water but they have been busy.

The tree felled over the road for its branches.
One route out of the water near the shore.

Two "access holes" with the denuded branches tossed out like toothpicks
minus the cocktail sausage.
Tracks to and from the snack bar, er, tree.

Baby beaver or raccoon?
I picture the beavers inside their house of sticks, going over the day’s list of things to be done now that spring is here. My feet crunching on the grainy snow on the road make too much noise to sneak up on them -- Smack, splash! -- and I have too much writing to do in my home office to spend hours sitting back there, just waiting to for them to crawl out of the water to feed, but I like to know they are there. Ah, but what an idea, sitting pond-side, meditating, waiting, anticipating.
As a writer, I relate to beavers more than any other wild animal. They are persistent, constantly creating, always maintaining, rebuilding when necessary. They keep to themselves, content to live and work in isolation, doing what they do best, even if others don't appreciate their work, the fruits of their labour, the point of their existence.
I leave my own calling card -- my footprints at the edge of the ice -- so they know that I, too, am emerging from my own den to soak up the energy of spring.

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