This morning I saw the otter again, a smaller one, climb out of the water and run along the ice, downstream. This isn’t a clear shot, it’s a curtain of brush and low trees – all bare branches, between my bedroom sliding door, (where I sit to meditate) and the snow bank on the far side of the creek. She is after the brown trout that dart out, then back under the ice, ice that is beginning to break up as the day inches up from freezing. Melissa sat on the bridge today and the otter didn’t see her. These are her amazing photos of a shy creature that moves very fast both under water and on the snow. She has a slight web in her back feet only, like having fins for swimming. I say “she” because I want her to be a she, thinking of my granddaughter Oona, who is three and a half, and turns heros into sheros.
I love that these otters are playful and slide down snowbanks again and again – for the fun of it, their front paws tucked into their sides, leading with the nose. That’s what the tracking book says. I’ve spent time away from my desk here looking at all the tracks in the snow. There is a “bird farm” about a quarter mile up the road. Birds raised for hunting, that is to be hunted. You know, quail and pheasants.
So I’m happy to say that a few pheasants have “escaped” and live here by the river because I see them, the males dragging their long tails. I want to tell them they are safe here… that is unless the eagles decide they are hungry.
I’m on day 13, right in the middle of the writers retreat. I have a stack of new material, and will begin looking at my partially-done pieces in the next few days. Again I am so grateful to be at the artists residency and have this heavenly opportunity to write new poems in the wilds of Wyoming. Tomorrow I go to town for supplies. Who knows what the weather will be. <> <>