Sharing images of the lower Catskill Mountains.
Hardly a pond at all, barely large enough to support a small family of beavers. Not knowing the pond would become nearly dry in lean years, beavers built a small lodge. Rain was scarce for a few years making it necessary for the beavers to abandon their home and move on.
Life continued at Clark Pond without the beavers. The inactive lodge became a favorite habitat for many creatures. Geese would nest on its top; great blue herons perched on it patiently waiting for amphibians, fish, frogs, and other small animals; mink would scamper up, down and around, anxious for a meal of whatever they could flush out. Red fox would nose around hoping to catch a mouse, rabbit or unwary small bird. Winters came and went, the water froze to the shallow depths of the little pond and snow covered the ice. Tracks of fox, coyote, mink, raccoon, deer, and crows would criss cross the surface creating delicate lacy patterns.
The seasons evolved and so did the pond. Brush grew thick along its edges, a few of the remaining trees grew to a considerable girth and the rains returned. All summer there was evidence that the beaver, industrious creatures that they are, were at work. The lodge grew in size with fresh mud and sticks appearing every day. Never a sighting of the beavers though, they were laboring between dusk and dawn. Distant young willow trees were expertly cut and pulled down hill to the pond. A path slick from the beavers coming and going was cut through the tall grass and brush. As summer turned to fall and the days shortened and became colder the lodge grew appendages of freshly cut branches. The beaver were preparing for winter and it looked like the lodge was large enough to house a good size family.
November’s full moon is called the Full Beaver Moon, by a number of Native Americans, in honor of these diligent creatures. By November they should have stored enough food for the long, cold, months ahead. Being a fickle month, this November arrived like it was January, with many below freezing days and nights. A coating of ice covered Clark Pond. For all appearances it looked like the beaver had settled in for the winter, then the days warmed, the ice melted. For the first time since the beavers appeared on Clark Pond they were visible during the day! Within a few short days a tree was felled, providing more branches and sticks to add to their winter food supply. The beaver could be seen swimming back and forth from the pond banks to the lodge carrying branches. There were at least three good size beaver at work while two slightly smaller ones were on the edge of the pond chewing small branches. Occasionally, if all was quiet, the large paddle like tail could be heard slapping the water, as they dove under and chewing sounds echoed across the pond as they munched away.
It is nearly the end of November. Can one hope to see the beaver sitting on the edge of their lodge or swimming across the little pond breaking a mere suggestion of thin ice_or_will we have to be content watching winter come again to Clark Pond; a pond frozen, silent, and sheltering a family of beavers, who are waiting patiently for another spring.
LaVerne Black Nov 27, 2019
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