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All In A Day’s Post

beaver hauling food to lodge 245Every day I head out with the hope of finding something interesting enough to write about and share on my blog, and which I can also manage to photograph.  There are days when it happens within minutes, but typically it consumes the better part of half a day. I thought I would take this opportunity to try and convey the sensory experience of this endeavor by describing yesterday’s outing.

I arrive at the beaver pond late in the afternoon, hoping for a glimpse of the two beaver kits that have been seen here in recent days.  Hidden behind ferns and shaded by young white pines, I set up my tripod and camera and settle down, hoping my arrival has not been observed.  I am accompanied by Emma, my lab, who for 12 years has patiently sat by my side motionless as we waited for the expected and unexpected to present itself. The sun is close to disappearing behind the trees, but lingering light provides a warm glow to the pond.

Silence greets me, but not for long. There is no sign of beavers, but I am serenaded by a lone Hermit Thrush, bidding a sweet goodnight to the surrounding woods and all who reside therein.  Soon after the Hermit Thrush’s flute-like song ceases, a chorus of plunking Green Frogs starts up.  Still no beavers, but I hear a splash from a corner of the pond that is hidden from view, and out flies a Broad-winged Hawk, whose empty talons tell the tale of a failed attempt to catch a frog or other aquatic resident.  I suddenly hear the high-pitched whining of young beavers coming from within the lodge that is roughly 150 feet directly across the pond from where I sit. This often occurs when a parent leaves the lodge, so I am on high alert.  Cedar Waxwings appear, perching on snags and flying out over the pond to snatch insects from a recent hatch before returning to their perch.

The sun is all but gone as a lone adult beaver surfaces and heads to the far end of the pond.  As silently as possible I walk along the side of the pond until I hear the familiar sound of rodent incisors gnawing rapidly on wood.  There, at the shoreline, the beaver is cutting a branch off a limb of a sloping tree that is within its reach.  Soon the chewing stops and the beaver grasps the cut branch in its mouth and swims the length of the pond to the lodge where its young eagerly await a freshly-cut meal.  When it gets to within several feet of the lodge, the beaver silently disappears beneath the water and moments later is greeted with the exuberant, anticipatory whining of its offspring.  With luck, I may have captured more than one post’s photograph, but even if I haven’t, my ears and eyes (and soul) have reaped enormous benefit from the effort.

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51 responses

  1. Sue

    You filled up many senses and souls with your day in a life blog today. And knowing your trusty, patient, pooch-pal was there by your side makes the scene all the more endearing.
    Thank you!!!

    July 12, 2016 at 5:24 am

  2. Daphne

    How incredibly fortunate we are to live where we do! And how incredibly fortunate we are that you capture for us the moments we don’t always get to see. Thank you, Mary!

    July 12, 2016 at 5:47 am

  3. Sara Demont

    What a special way to start my day. Your patient vigil amazes me. Your “New post” speaks so well why you capture the treasures that surround us. Thank you for sharing. Hugs, Sara

    Sent from my iPad


    July 12, 2016 at 6:07 am

  4. Lynne Woodard

    Such lovely writing, Mary. Thank you.

    July 12, 2016 at 6:31 am

  5. I loved that, thank you.

    July 12, 2016 at 6:46 am

  6. bcottam2014

    Thanks for sharing, Mary! You are truly blessed, with both a pond and a patient lab. Nature never disappoints, does it? As your post so eloquently shows, there is always something going on.


    July 12, 2016 at 6:51 am

  7. Magical! Both the world we live in and the way you see and write about it. Many thanks to you and Emma!

    July 12, 2016 at 6:57 am

  8. Inge Ackermann

    What a fine thing to wake up to this morning. Thank you, Mary! Inge in Amherst, Mass.

    – Inge 413.549.4870


    July 12, 2016 at 7:11 am

  9. Sue Carr

    What a wonderful story. I wish I had been there.

    Sue Carr

    July 12, 2016 at 7:11 am

  10. Marilyn

    Thank you. I felt as if I’d been there with you.

    July 12, 2016 at 7:13 am

  11. Carmen VandeGriek

    Just wonderful Mary, felt like I was there with you!

    July 12, 2016 at 7:24 am

  12. Pat

    Thanks so much. What a lovely post!

    July 12, 2016 at 7:28 am

  13. Robert Barber

    This is a delightful description of the pleasures and rewards of sitting still, listening, and watching closely. An inspiration to me to find more time to be still outdoors. You are amazing ! Thank you

    Robin Barber Gallery of Readers Press 16 Vernon St Northampton, MA 01060 413-585-8530

    what I generally do is row…but then I’m going into the world backwards.

    Susan Kan, here on Highland Lake in Goshen, MA, can at least see where she’s going.


    July 12, 2016 at 7:30 am

  14. Diane

    Wonderful story!

    July 12, 2016 at 7:49 am

  15. Thea Lahti

    Beautiful. Your writing took me there with you.

    July 12, 2016 at 7:52 am

  16. Susan Makowiecki

    I look forward to every blog, it helps to make my day complete. Thank you for doing what you do, you totally rock!

    July 12, 2016 at 8:04 am

  17. Sounds heavenly!

    July 12, 2016 at 8:11 am

  18. Dianne Rochford

    Dar Mary,

    This is WONDERFUL beyond words……We are so lucky to have you out in the Natural World…….THANK YOU……..

    :-), Dianne >

    July 12, 2016 at 8:11 am

  19. David Thomas-Train

    Thank you, Mary. What a lovely sojourn!

    July 12, 2016 at 8:18 am

  20. Pam Jackson

    Thank you for a wonderful post today, Mary. My head was with you while reading.

    July 12, 2016 at 8:20 am

  21. christopherrenna

    Really enjoyed reading this, thank you.

    July 12, 2016 at 8:23 am

  22. Henry Holland

    Hi Mary, Good posting. I love beavers. Great that you have Emma who can sit quietly by your side. We had to put our yellow lab done last year. 15 years old and a wonderful dog/friend. Take care. Henry Holland

    Sent from my iPad


    July 12, 2016 at 8:26 am

    • Hi Henry! I forget you read my blog! Fifteen years for a lab is amazing – but leaves such a hole, doesn’t it? Love to all the Hollands – miss you!

      July 17, 2016 at 11:58 am

  23. nangalland

    Beautiful writing Mary!! Thank you! – Nan >

    July 12, 2016 at 8:39 am

  24. audrey hyson

    Thank you for this post. It’s a great reminder that, to reap the rewards of being a naturalist, it takes time and patience. It seems that time is the most precious element.

    July 12, 2016 at 8:48 am

  25. Megan Culp

    Wow, Mary…..great post to give us some idea of your rewards by being patient!

    July 12, 2016 at 9:43 am

  26. Does indeed sound like heaven on earth! Thank you!

    July 12, 2016 at 9:47 am

  27. Joe Lopes

    Wow…..well done. Thanks for sharing! Joe Lopes508-272-1965

    July 12, 2016 at 9:53 am

  28. Inge Ackermann

    As a result of your friendly, welcome email, enjoy this lovely nature report. Your friends, Jackson and Inge

    – Inge 413.549.4870


    July 12, 2016 at 10:04 am

  29. Leah

    Thank you for taking me along on your journey–my body is full of the stillness and joy you experienced. You are a poet.

    July 12, 2016 at 10:06 am

  30. Barbara


    What an excellent post. While I’m not a photographer, you told my tale of waiting to glimpse of the beaver. Your writing is rich with exactly the feel, sounds, sights. And it is what I do every day, and every day I am rewarded in one way or the other.

    July 12, 2016 at 10:13 am

  31. Nancy Walker

    A wonderful post, Mary! You’ve managed to create the perfect job!

    Nancy Baker

    July 12, 2016 at 10:22 am

  32. Penny Jessop

    I was totally transported. Thanks for the glorious virtual trip.

    July 12, 2016 at 10:23 am

  33. Deborah Luquer

    Ah ! Glorious. Thank you

    July 12, 2016 at 10:57 am

  34. Kimberly

    Beautiful! Thanks for writing this.

    July 12, 2016 at 12:29 pm

  35. Just wonderful! Thank you for taking us along.

    July 12, 2016 at 1:04 pm

  36. Guy Stoye

    That is a wonderful account of you and Emma observing the beavers and the other wildlife in the area! Never thought about young beavers making any sounds other than splashing.
    Nice going!

    July 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm

  37. shielaswett

    Oh, Mary, That is such a beautiful piece of writing, giving we lucky readers the feeling that we are right there with you. I picture the scene, hear the sounds, and pretend you are ME :-)) Many thanks for giving me/us this experience, including that beaver heading homeward… cheers, Shiela

    July 12, 2016 at 1:53 pm

  38. Beautifully described Mary. Like others, I was there with you, you painted the scene so well. Fantasic photo of the beaver, beavering a way.

    July 12, 2016 at 2:03 pm

  39. Cordelia Merritt

    Absolutely delightful!! Please do it again. I was there with you – in spirit, of course. Such patience. Thank you! Thank you! Cordie

    July 12, 2016 at 6:09 pm

  40. Dear Mary, Thank you for passing on this gift to all of us – such a delightful read… With gratitude for your dedication and generosity, Dell

    July 12, 2016 at 10:56 pm

  41. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    Sounds like a lovely day, Mary. I can never get quite close enough to photograph a beaver. They come soon after there is not light enough for a picture. Sadly we lost our beavers this winter. Everyone up and down the creek did. We are all suspecting Tularemia.

    I ordered 3 of your books, one being the beaver book for some kids I am going to visit next month. They should be here any day now. I’m excited to see them (the books – but it will be nice to see the kids too, haha).

    Thanks Mary.

    July 12, 2016 at 11:15 pm

  42. Beautifully written, Mary. I felt like I was right there with you!

    July 12, 2016 at 11:29 pm

  43. k

    What an impossibly lovely way to spend an afternoon. And what an amazingly good dog friend you have! Thanks so much for sharing this.

    July 13, 2016 at 9:44 am

  44. willem lange

    Mary —

    This is among your best. It’s the human element, I think, that makes the difference.

    W –

    July 13, 2016 at 3:42 pm

  45. There’s magic in a quiet pond where “nothing” is happening all around you!

    July 13, 2016 at 4:37 pm

  46. Marie Hanson

    Thank you Mary, such a pleasure to start the day reading about your last nature encounter, awakening senses for my own nature encounters as the day unfold. Marie

    On 7/12/16, Naturally Curious with Mary Holland

    July 14, 2016 at 6:54 am

  47. Susie Peters

    Beautiful, Mary, and though you can’t hear us, we are like the baby beavers, exuberantly sounding our joy, every day, when you deliver us yet another delicious treat from the natural world. Thank you, Susie 

    July 14, 2016 at 4:55 pm

  48. Irma Graf

    Thank you for this, Mary! How lucky you are to be able to observe and share this joy and how lucky we are to be the receivers!

    July 16, 2016 at 6:10 pm

  49. Deborah Luquer

    Lucky, lucky Emma

    July 18, 2016 at 11:28 am

  50. Doug Sherry


    Our nine-year old granddaughter, Isabella was visiting last week and for some reason we got talking about beavers and then I went to check my email and there was this posting about a beaver and her kit. How timely this was! It was such fun to read this with her. Thank you.

    July 18, 2016 at 10:21 pm

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