Friday, January 26, 2018

Busy Beaver

Writers have rituals. Some are as simple as a jar of jelly beans on the desk, some are as complicated as particular notebooks and pens, music and mugs, bracelets and earrings.
I'm afraid I fall into the complicated category. I'm lousy with particularities and peculiarities.

But not all rituals are odd. 
At the end of a long but satisfying day of writing, I go outside and I go for a walk.
I go outside to breath in fresh air, to clear my head, to expand my lungs and refreshen my heartbeat.
I go for a walk to keep my neck from seizing up, to settle my thoughts and set onto what I will write tomorrow.
Every day, I walk to the beaver brook with the dog and we say hello to the beavers.
You can't see the beaver dam as well from the road as it appears in this photo; I walked through the frozen flooded woodlot to get a close up look, and take a photo for you.
If I'm going to talk about this most important ritual, it behooves me to provide a visual. 
I arrive at the brook, I stop and stand in the middle of the road, above the culvert, and I follow the ribbon of ice to the dam in the near distance and I say,
"Hello, beavers."
I never see them, nor even any signs of them during the winter. It seems unfriendly, though, to walk to that point and not say hello.
Come to think of it, I've been doing it for almost eleven years now, haven't I?


Yes, I knew I remembered correctly. In an early, much shorter version of my Field Notes essay, A Walk In the Woods, this was the original ending in 2011:

"Exiting the plantation, reluctant to head home, the dog and I walked up the road to the beaver brook formed by the clogging of the culvert. No sign of life under the smooth, dark water but I pictured the beavers inside their house of sticks, going over the day’s list of things to be done. They are a persistent animal, constantly creating, always maintaining, rebuilding when necessary. They keep to themselves, content to live and work in isolation. Just like a writer with land of her own."

Not such an odd ritual, after all. 

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