He was an innocent little creature, swimming around in the pond outside the cabin window. Just a small rodent, nibbling grass, paddling around, no harm to anyone. I would watch him in the early morning hours, peaceful.
Then, the muskrat disappeared, and I feared the ranch dog had killed him. Until this morning, when he came back, leaving a wide ‘V’ across the pond as he paddled industriously across. Joy! My morning friend had returned, was not dead.
I sat down to write a blog about a bear stash, looked up towards the pond – and the ranch dog appeared with the muskrat in her mouth.
Living here, between National Park and designated Wilderness, the community is mostly non-human, the neighbors are the creatures great and small who share their home with us. I know their habits as a person living in the city would know the habits of the people living along their street. But to be part of a semi-wild community, to connect with the animals and plants that reside here, is something special, an experience fairly rare in our American world. It’s not like living in any human neighborhood at all.
One of the local residents died this morning – my little muskrat friend who will never again swim across the pond, leaving his small wake spreading across the still water.