Sometimes it’s a good idea to slow down when you’re running. Surprising things happen – when you take the time to look.
So it was last Saturday – April 20 – and I was on a relaxing, recovery run IN A SNOWSTORM!!! The snow was pounding down, and the country roads were greasy. Totally uninspiring day for a run. But I stuck with it, and did the full 21 kilometer loop around Beals Lake. I didn’t go fast, maybe 7 mph, but the effort felt hard, and my spit tasted like rust. So I took a break.
Beals Lake is long and narrow, with a series of bulbs that, on Google Earth, make it look like a weird necklace. You can’t see it from the roads, and the only way to get a glimpse of it is to trespass onto private property. So I followed an old cart track, hopped over a rusty metal gate, and walked down to the shore. A thick grey mist hung over the pine trees at the water’s edge. A thin crust of ice covered most of the lake, like the skin on mushroom soup after its cooled. I could hear the tinkling of ice cubes in the water.
Then I heard a sploosh. Not a splash, but a sploosh. There’s a difference. Splashes happen when something enters the water. Splooshes mean something is emerging from the water.
Suddenly I saw a beaver. Correction: two beavers. They circled around each other, then dove back under the water.
They re-surfaced a few moments later, fifteen feet to my right. One of the beavers waddled ashore, and began gnawing on a branch.
CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!
The beaver had no idea that I was there! The second beaver dove back under the water, and then re-surfaced somewhere to my left. It too crept onto the shore and began chewing on a branch.
CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! to my left.
CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! to my right.
I stood there, watching them, for close to an hour. When I finally got home, the snow had stopped falling. The Spring Peepers were singing joyfully in the bog. They were so loud, I had to cover my ears.
Mother Nature knows it’s springtime, even if we don’t.