Baby Beaver

I have seen a great many sights in or along Oregon’s riparian areas in my lifetime, but a sighting a while back topped them all: a baby beaver gliding in a creek and then gnawing a tiny stick of willow from a bank. This marvel occurred four blocks from my home.

I was on a walk with dear friends and their kooky dog. We stopped at a bridge to admire daffy ducks and something near a log caught my eye. It wasn’t a duck. It was a small beaver, alone. I double checked its beaver status, meaning observe the tail: if it’s flat, you have a beaver, if it’s narrow, you have a nutria, an introduced species.

It was flat! I could not believe it.

This marked the third time in my life I’d observed a beaver in nature. The other two times were at the Oregon Coast and magical, but they didn’t compare to this sighting. I had been so blue of late, wondering about my role, my writing, my father, my future.

Then the appearance of this little heavenly bucktoothed creature. My friends were excited at the observation but certainly not to my fanatical degree. Jesus! I now knew how a Christian might feel if Jesus did actually return!

What a Christmas gift from Oregon’s Watershed Gods. I’ve given them a lot the last quarter century, and here they were thanking me.