Our Oregon tale begins on an abandoned county boat ramp along a remote river in a secret watershed on the Southern Oregon Coast.
Come look! You will see encroaching willows and alders, beer cans and vaping pens, the remains of camp fires. Come closer! You will see signs of castor canadensis, American beaver, perhaps the most enterprising and entrepreneurial animal in nature, and one sadly relegated to scientific study, and boring scientific study at that.
Until now. Oh, there is so much more to beaver! So much more to tales about beavers than stealing fire from humans!
Come look even closer! You will see an abandoned 2001 or 2002 Honda Accord, once tan, but now a curious congealed color of rust, moss and mold that only exists on the Oregon Coast in places where it can rain 90 inches a year. Call this a nurse car because ferns and tiny conifers have sprouted from its crevasses. Near it stands the crumbling remains of a large driftwood fort, more of a lodge, intricately constructed, sturdy, interwoven, interlocked, decorated in a style anthropologists might call a kind of voodoo. Beaver voodoo! (Good rock band name.)
Over the years, drunk, stoned and methed teenagers had used the car for short sport, siring a few miscreants in the back seat, but even that had stopped as foliage further engulfed the road and swallowed the car. The car was returning to earth. A hundred-year flood might hasten its fate.
But what of the car’s former owner? What happened to him? Who was he? Who is he? Where is he?
Well, if truth be told, and this story really did happen, and is being written by a writer wielding a quill (bald eagle) pen, the man is no longer a man, he is Castor Canadensis Man. He transformed—no evolved—into a beaver. And if more truth be told, he’s pretty damn happy about it! It’s much better being a beaver than being a human in America these days. That’s pretty obvious. For one thing, you don’t have to believe your vote will count fairly in a presidential election, although you still have to contend with merciless gentrification from lower (richer) life forms.
His name was James. That was his human name. James like the apostle. His beaver name is coming soon.
There are no beavers in the Bible. Just beasts. Strike that! There are a sheep gone astray, a jawbone of an ass, and a whale who spits out a loser. One shudders to think what Jesus could have done with a parable about a beaver and a sinner! It might have changed the course of Christianity and we could have avoided the Inquisition and American Exceptionalism.