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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Howling at the Moon - The great outdoors

by Sylene Argent

I was so excited to hear a resident had seen a beaver walking around Essex Centre last week. I am a huge animal fan and am that bleeding heart some may find annoying. But, that’s okay, we all have our thing.

I believed the claim rather quickly. I understand a beaver could be easily mistaken for another similar critter, such as the muskrat, but I had seen a beaver in the area myself more than a dozen years ago that had been found deceased by family friends.

I was disappointed to hear the future of beaver inhabitation here is not so great, and if beavers could read, I’d put a few signs out suggesting life may be better for them where more wetlands would be available to them.

I suppose my love of nature stems from a childhood that was spent out in the woods up north. My grandparents, at one time, had a cottage in the Wiarton area and my parents and a few aunts and uncles chipped in to buy property near Kirkland Lake.

I have written in this column before about some of my prized childhood possessions had included a branch that had the teeth-made gnaw marks of a beaver and a porcupine quill I had found while out walking “in the bush,” nearing my grandparents’ cottage, as I used to call natural tree coverage it in my younger days.

Our cottage near Kirkland Land was a long drive down a golden-sand road, deep into the woods. There were many wet areas, and when we took a walk as a family, never on our own as it was too dangerous to do so with so many large animals nearby, I would get so excited when I would hear a beaver slap its tail at us, giving a warning that we were getting too close to his or her territory.

I do not ever remember seeing a beaver, though that didn’t stop us from trying to locate one by sight after that loud slap was heard.

Just thinking about walking along that sandy road and thinking of the wetlands we would come across rejuvenates me. Most of my best childhood memories were made at either cottage. And, it was there that I learned to connect with nature deeply. I am not sure I would have ever have gotten that type of connection without having had those experiences.

As a child, you don’t really think of the danger of being in close proximity of a moose or bear, but we were taught that it was their space and to respect them. We could all learn, or relearn, from such a lesson. We will find ourselves getting into trouble if we forget how to learn, and nature has so much to teach.


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