Friday, April 02, 2010

Battling The Beaver

My niece posted some pictures on her blog of a place where some wildlife was trying to turn forest into pasture, and it reminded me of a episode on a family vacation some fifty years ago or so, back when my father and I fly fished together on vacations in the Colorado Rockies. We were dry fly stream aficionados, but sometimes when rains had muddied the streams or drought had dried them up we fished still water, and often that meant beaver ponds. It was not all that unusual for the pond to be inhabited, and for the most part the citizens of the pond pretty much ignored us.

One day we were fishing an inhabited pond, and Dad was apparently too close to where one of the beavers wanted to be doing something so the beaver sat on the bank and started quite clearly swearing at Dad. I was maybe thirty feet away or so, and let my line drift and watched as Dad reeled in, hooked his fly to the reel and, instead of leaving, struck up a conversation with the beaver. Dad was in the water, a little more than knee deep, and the beaver was on the bank, and they were probably 10-12 feet apart. The beaver was more than a little agitated, Dad was speaking calmly to the critter, and they went back and forth for several minutes.

I was cracking up, watching Dad standing there talking to a beaver as if the creature could understand what he was saying, but Dad did things like that all the time. He conversed with our cats regularly.

Eventually the beaver went in the water and started swimming in an arc around Dad, and I could see that he was a little uneasy about that, but he stood his ground and the conversation continued for a couple more minutes. Then the beaver turned his back, raised his tail, brought it down with a mighty slap, and utterly drenched the old man. I was cracking up, but Dad didn't think it was all that funny and started swearing at the beaver, which made it funnier yet; here were Dad and the beaver, both of them now swearing at each other. What capped it off was when Dad started using his free hand to splash the beaver with water, at which point I was laughing so hard I almost dropped my flyrod.

He finally looked over and saw me heading for the bank and laughing my ass off and realized the insanity of his position, made placating noises to the beaver and left the pond. We met on the bank, by which time he was laughing, and he asked me something like, "Was I really trying to splash that guy?" We were, as I recall, pretty much done fishing for the day.

1 comment:

  1. People, cats, beavers - pretty much the same to him! Probably he considered the cats & beavers as intelligent as some people.