It was already dark. (We really are heading appreciably toward the shortest day here in the Northern Hemisphere.) We were driving home from walking over at the high school track. Chuck had the Subaru’s high beams on, which was a very good thing. As we approached a stretch of road with water on both sides, we noticed something large and dark in the road. Chuck slowed the car, bringing it to a full stop. It was a beaver, all sleek and shiny and low to the ground, moving quite deliberately across the road. It was completely unperturbed by us or the car’s idling engine and bright lights. It looked neither left nor right. It was concentrating entirely on the task at hand: the beaver was dragging a tree from one side of the road to the other. It was a sapling, with its orange and red autumn leaves bobbing in the breeze, as the beaver steadily transported it across the asphalt, from the side of the road with the small body of water, to the side with the more capacious pond.
Yes, I’ve lived in rural Massachusetts long enough to know that beavers can wreak enormous amounts of havoc. At that moment, I could not have cared less. I was dazzled. As soon as the last trembling twigs of the sapling disappeared into the marshy growth, I applauded. I could almost hear the beaver, paddling over to the lodge and calling out: “Hi Honey, I’m home! I brought you that birch you admired earlier!”
North American Beaver (castor canadensis). For the absolutely, hands down, best photograph click here!