|CC Jean Stimmell: October 2022|
I went to the dump last Saturday, intending to hurry back to finish buttoning up for winter. But instead, overcome with inertia, I decided to play hooky by following a circuitous route home on back roads imprinted on my brain from a lifetime of travel. The past-peak foliage of muted, harmonious colors lured me on, distracting me from the ever-more-exposed tree trunks, stark skeletons of winter to come.
My father always accused me of getting a bad case of "spring fever" each year, that listless, lazy feeling caused by the first warm weather after the long winter's chill. I'm one of the few also prone to "fall fever," triggered by autumn's last warm Indian summer days. I could tell it was happening to me again today.
I stopped by an old familiar pond where Great Blue Herons previously nested in tall dead pines drowned long ago by the rising waters after the beavers built their first dam. I took photos of cat-o'-nine-tails along the edge, no longer trim and tight-bodied in the prime of youth, now expanded in girth and wrinkled by old age like me – yet still beautiful in their own way, at least to my sympathetic eye.
Russet and I once explored these waters in our kayaks on an enchanted summer day without a breeze or cloud in the sky. We were blissfully gliding along in sublime silence when suddenly a thumping explosion drenched us with water as an enormous beaver torpedoed by, slapping his broad tail – a stern warning we were violating his territory. He was like an apparition from another world, arriving like a bolt out of the blue.
That explosion of water from the beaver's tail startled us like Mother Earth must have been shocked sixty-six million years ago when that massive asteroid struck, the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. Scientists now calculate the impact generated a monster tsunami with waves more than a mile high.”1
That’s what it felt like to us.