“Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!” The urgency in my wife’s voice caught me off guard, unsettling me. Alarmed, I looked up from the plastic Snow White and seven dwarfs figurines my three year-old and I had been playing with to meet my wife’s gaze. Both the twinkle in her eye, as well as the one in my 8 year-old’s, immediately allayed my concern.
“What is it?” I queried.
“Holy giant beaver!” my wife chirped.
Snatching my little one up out of her chair and away from the dwarfs, I followed my wife and two older daughters hurriedly through the back sliding glass door, onto the deck, and out into the expansive back yard. Our voices fell to whispers, as my wife quietly explained what she had spotted from our upstairs window. Skulking up from the meandering Bantam River behind our property, she’d seen a rather large brown creature making its way toward our grape vines.
As quietly as possible, we all tiptoed down the backyard incline, my youngest now walking under her own power. I’d never seen a beaver in the yard before and wondered a little about their temperament around humans. Would we be okay getting up close?
Sure enough, at the bottom of the slope, something resembling a small brown bear sat frozen in the tall grass beneath an apple tree. “Do beavers hurt us?” asked my youngest, as she stretched her arms upward toward my shoulders, the sign she wanted to be held (right now, please).
“Um, I don’t think so, honey,” I offered with no confidence whatsoever.
Silently we all watched. Then suddenly the beaver pivoted to his left, sniffed the ground, and picked up an apple in his mouth. Faces of wonderment turned to face me. “Papa! He’s taking an apple!” Back to the river headed the beaver.
“Guess he was hungry,” I said. Let this moment soak in, I told myself. Let it soak in.