Monday, March 11, 2013

The Muskrat

A Muskrat, feeding
charcoal pencil
10 March 2013
Sunday morning: I'm still rubbing the sleep-sand from my eyes. It's daylight savings today and we've all lost an extra hour of sleep. But I've slipped down to the river to see how things are after the heavy snow we had on Friday.

I see a black shape on a shelf of ice in the river above the dam and can't make out what it is. It could be a piece of driftwood …or a piece of muskrat-shaped driftwood. I imagine that it is a actual muskrat but I can't confirm this by sight; it's too far away. As I concentrate on getting out a pencil and opening my sketchbook, the black shape disappears which means only one thing: it is a muskrat-shaped real muskrat! Just my luck; it's being shy and I can't draw it. But it soon reappears in the same spot. It has carried a bit of plant matter (muck!) up from the river bed to eat. It does this a few more times while I draw until my fingers become numb.

Spring is happening. The river is full to the brim with meltwater and snow. This morning I saw some unidentifiable ducks far away, several flights of geese, songbirds, starlings and an American Kestrel (…or a sharp-shinned hawk). Opossums have been busy and some have been unlucky as they cross the thoroughfares. A friend has heard amorous owls hooting at night in the tall trees near his house.

It's impossible to stop this tilting planet. Impossible to stop Spring and imagine that Winter will never end. What a silly sentiment. The climate is changing but here at least, we will always have seasons.

The South Natick Dam
11 March 2013

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