Our current home abuts a sizeable pond. On the other side is a two lane highway, so it is not quite paradise. But almost. I have learned to ignore the sound of the passing cars and it would seem that the animal life is also quite oblivious to traffic. Deer pass through our yard regularly and a week ago there were fresh coyote tracks. There is also a beaver den a stones throw from our property line. A twenty foot beech and two large white pines have been ‘ringed’, so that they lean precariously; a storm or two more should bring them down.
I have taken to collecting the slender saplings, snapped off at the base and stripped of bark. They litter the shore; bleached, whittled and tattooed with faint bands.
Several weeks ago, the pond covered in first ice, I finally spotted the beaver. Just in front of the den was a patch of open water, and swimming in small circles was both an adult and a juvenile. Suddenly I was witness to some extraordinary behavior. The adult ducked under the ice edging the frigid water, and then surfaced forcefully, using it’s head and shoulders to break the ice. It repeated this task several times, before both beavers disappeared beneath the surface.
The pond itself is a dynamic force, spring fed and ever changing. One of my favorite things is the appearance of water just before it freezes. Smoky and viscous; it resembles mercury.
Once the ice has set, there are sometimes great belching noises rumbling up from the pond, as pressure is released. Occasionally too, a sudden ricochet as first one and then several cracks race across the ice. I clearly remember these sounds from childhood, as there was a pond behind our house then as well.
Of course, I have taken lots of pictures. Should you like, you can click on any photo to scroll through larger versions.