As I rounded the corner, I felt the frog jump on my shoe. I did a quick hop and a little leap to avoid falling down. I don’t know who was more surprised: the frog or I.
It was late September and the harvest moon was bright in the eastern sky. The winds had brought warm air from the south raising the daytime temperatures into the nineties and pushing my running time until after sunset. There are three ponds in a row along the running route. Passing by them one day last summer, I noticed a wake in the water. It was following a swimming beaver. I could only see his head and the plant he had in his mouth. After that first sighting, I have been keeping an eye out for the beavers. The weeks in September when I was running after sundown, I saw them frequently. There are at least two of them.
I couldn’t tell where they were building their winter home as I watched them on those late summer evenings. I wondered if they knew of the dangers that lurk within easy distance of their home. Up a short hill on one side, there are parking lots and apartment buildings and, on the other side, there is a sidewalk and then the road. I haven’t seen them sitting outside of the pond yet. I would often hear a splash as I ran by. I try to run quietly, but I imagine in the nighttime silence my footfalls sounded like thunder to them.
The surfaces of the ponds are frozen now. With the exception of a few days, the high temperatures have been below freezing for at least a month. We had a few days over freezing this week. Most of last week’s snow has melted. On Monday evening’s run, I noticed two holes in the ice in the pond furthest to the west. I visited the pond at sunrise on Tuesday and Wednesday to investigate. It was still bitter cold Tuesday morning. I walked carefully down the bank to the edge of the pond. I saw the tracks of field mice and what might have been a fox.
The first two holes in the ice are near a clump of cattails and grasses that seems large enough to hide a beaver home. I couldn’t see it, though. I kept to what I could tell was solid ground. I didn’t want to lose my footing and take an early morning icy swim.
On Tuesday evening’s run, I noticed more holes in the ice in a line to the other side of the pond. If you look closely at the second to last picture, you can see more tracks from our sure footed little friend of the previous morning. I am hoping to see a beaver peek out of one of the holes in the ice as I pass by on an evening run.
Last night, the moon and the beavers were hidden. The run started out with drizzle that turned into light freezing rain. I was singing softly to myself and concentrating on not slipping.
Take care and thanks for reading.