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Beaver Dam




My craft drifts on the water

like a birch leaf, downstream

with the slowed current.

This swamp was once a 

mere trickle, rushing water

that undercut high banks.

As high as I could reach 

from the creek bed, was

the leaf litter and tree roots.

Now the water is over the

banks, and standing knee

deep, fifty yards each way.

As I drift on, the cause

of this flooding, the beaver

dam, comes into view.

Perhaps the largest I have

ever seen in these parts, 

hundred yards or more across.

From base of the slope

on either side of the bottom

land, this dam stretches.

The architects worked tirelessly,

spring, summer and fall,

to build this great structure.

And every time the sound

of running water is heard, 

the call of duty is answered.

A builder comes forth

from the depths of its lair,

and repairs the breach.

Weaving in more saplings

and packing sticks and mud

in the holes, the dam holds.

I survey this engineering feat

from my craft of molded

plastic, and I am perplexed.

One of the great wonders

of the natural world, I stand

amazed at the handiwork.

I paddle to the dam, near

the beavers’ lodge, but

keep a respectful distance.

Between my boat and

the lodge, the water’s surface

ripples, a pair of eyes appear.

Quickly, the beaver dives,

and the slap of its tail

soaks me to the bone.

Swamp water is dripping

from my face and clothing,

I have to wipe my eyes.

The warning is heeded,

I tuck tail and paddle back

upstream toward home.



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