When we decamped the city to live in the suburbs, for whatever godforsaken reason, I didn’t quite realize what a variety of woodland creatures would be part of the deal. There’s a deer path that goes right through my side yard, for example. There are little tweety birds everywhere, so many that I was inspired to buy a bird guide to try to identify some. (“That one,” I can now say confidently, “is definitely a robin.”) The wetlands behind my mom’s house are home to sandhill cranes early every summer, and some cranky swans the rest of the time. There are bunnies in my yard and a chipmunk named Dexter has built a home under my porch. Once, a tiny bat crawled up to the front door of my office. I called the health department, but they said since it wasn’t inside, they couldn’t do anything about it. I’m pretty sure it had rabies, but it was gone the next morning.
This led P to dub the new neighborhood a fairy fu — effing wonderland. And it was! Until one day.
I came home from work, roaring up to my driveway with the windows down, playing Lady Gaga or David Bowie or someone awesome on the radio.* I stopped short when I saw a dark brown creature crouched in the middle of the street. At first I thought it was a cat. It was roughly cat-sized, after all, and there are a few strays in the subdivison. Then it started running across the street in a weird, waddling way. Nothing like a cat I’d ever seen, for sure. Then, it turned just the slightest bit and I saw a big tail and I realized:
The creature was a beaver.
The creature was a beaver and it was headed right for my neighbor’s open garage door. This was a problem, because I had never met this particular neighbor, and I did not particularly relish the thought of knocking on the door and saying, “You don’t know me, but there’s a beaver in your garage.” Think about how quickly I would have a reputation to uphold!
Luckily, the beaver sheared off at the last minute and disappeared over the rise. I still don’t know where he was going, but he hasn’t been back.
*I was probably crying while listening to NPR.