For twenty two years, my husband and I have been on duty for a batch of wonderful but wily sons, born in quick succession. Twenty two years of trying to keep them from killing themselves, or each other, trying to teach them to be decent human beings, being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The college boys graced us with their company a bit over this summer. The high school senior prepared to launch. It was lovely, and raucous, and poignant-- and very loud.
Then all flew off in one explosive burst-- like birds lifting off a telephone wire. That wire would be me. Jangled, swaying a bit from the weight lifted, feeling euphoric and sad and untethered and disoriented, all at the same time. I know they may all bounce back tomorrow, if things don't go as planned. I also know this might be the new normal. Either way, it's going to take time to adjust.
So, when the dogs (large, hairy beasts bequeathed by youngest son) tugged me on a walk down to the creek bed, I didn't want to go that direction. After five years of drought in Central California, it's as dry and crispy as saltine crackers. Dreary as a moonscape. But maybe, after all, a decent place for a Jangled Wire to take a moody walk. I followed the hair balls.
As my dogs whiffled with excitement around the willows I looked closer, and saw a small, woodland home. A few yards away, I saw another entrance.
I don't know if the beavers are currently snoozing in their dens and tunnels, waiting out the weather--or if they have moved upstream--or died out completely. But finding these dens and tunnels--and some freshly gnawed willow bark-- gave me something new to ponder: if beavers can be so resourceful and resilient, if they can dig in and wait out month- after- month of no rain, maybe I can be a little tougher too.
One thing is for sure, if the beavers sat around on the banks watching the sky for clouds, they wouldn't have a home, a dam or a slide to slide on. They just do their work and leave the weather up to-- whomever is in charge of the rain. Probably a good plan. I guess it's time for this mama to start gnawing on a new project.
May your streams be overflowing with blessing-- and if you have to wait for rain, may you be as resilient as these determined little dry-creek beavers.
Welcome to Streamriffs.com, a place for fellow creek- walkers and nature lovers. Lori Fisher Peelen lives in California with her family.