The last time we passed by a beaver pond, Aki trotted out on the ice before I could stop her. This morning, she wants no part of this pond. With her paws firmly planted on solid earth, the little dog watches me ease onto the ice. It holds firm as I creep over to an island where the beavers have their lodge.
The ice formed quickly enough to trap sticks, blades of grass, bubbles of air, and even feathers. The encapsulated sticks look as gray as death. I feel like I am walking on ghosts. Aki joins me when I am only a few meters away from the beavers’ house. Small logs, each stripped of bark, lay scattered around the lodge like chicken bones outside the widow of a lazy teenager. But we can’t see any other evidence of the beavers’ presence. The big rodents must be inside sleeping.
I take a meandering route back to trail. Aki makes a bee line back. What does the little dog sense that I don’t? Can she hear sounds that warn of thinning ice or smell a predator? We heard an eagle scream on our way here. That must be it. Not feeling vulnerable to threats from the air I stop often to study the things trapped in ice.