Beaver Tale

This and Other Realities:

Beaver Tale

Mother Nature has gifted my family and I with many cherished memories through the years, often presented as pleasant surprises.

It was Canada Day, July 1st. My husband, Roger, and I decided to bring our two less-than-enthusiastic, pre-teen children, Alissa and Aaron, on a day trip of boating and fishing with our aluminum boat and outboard motor. We drove to an access point near Matachewan on the Montreal River. It’s a 220 km (137 mi) long tributary, with its own tributaries, of the Ottawa River stretching another 1,271 km (790 mi).

There, we loaded the boat with all the essentials , including the children.

It was a long ride to our destination during which Roger manned the outboard motor, I watched for the thrills of seeing wildlife and potential hazards, while the children watched the water- the waves, the ripples, the sprays- and the sky- the passing clouds in the bright sunlight, the birds flying by- and the shoreline of rugged Northeastern Ontario trees, shrubs, rocks and driftwood, all of which lulled them to sleep. While Roger and I were mapping, they were napping.

Part of our journey included a challenging portage. We all had to get out of the boat and slowly winch it up, with our gear and heavy motor, using a vintage winch pulley kept there to aid travel up the overland incline. It was a strenuous, exhausting task made more uncomfortable with the hot temperature, mosquitoes and blackflies. Like explorers and pioneers, we were on our determined way again.

Finally, we reached our chosen spot for fishing. Baited lines were all thrown in the water, not caring whether we actually caught any fish. The time of day, hot temperature and cooked bait were ignored as minor details. I recall that we were all focused on the contents of our cooler more than anything else.

Once satiated, we all drifted into silent reflection on our surroundings. That’s when Canada’s Totem Animal, a Beaver, swam up close to our boat, then loudly slapped its tail on the water. Some folks would say it was the Beaver’s territorial warning but we called it “The Canada Day Salute”.

( A true story retold November 1, 2021)

Thank you Mother Nature!

Shelley Wilson


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