Friday, March 8, 2013

Coming Back to Life

Life has always been here. It’s just not very abundant through the winter. With the weather just starting to turn into early spring, things are going to start happening fast in our rivers and streams. It’s one of the most exciting times to get in the water and watch as life reemerges. Clouds of small fish hover near cover and appear like blurry patches in the water, the way gnat swarms look in the air. This stream experienced significant restructuring this winter. Beaver dams were broken and new pools were formed. Piles of beaver gnawed branches pile against trees that lay across the river, not quite dams, and I wonder if this is how beaver start the damming process. There are new bank dens in the newly deepened spots, and the creek is thick with beaver sign. Bark stripped white beaver chew sticks are everywhere. Some kind of nervous fish darts around submerged logs in the deeper holes. At least a half dozen 6 inch lightning fast fish torpedoes disappear under cover, then reemerge and swim for a new hiding place. I realize these are some kind of juvenile trout when one holds still long enough for me to recognize its body form. Soon fall fish will hold in the deeper holes and let me get close, common shiners will show their not so common breeding colors, and the skunk cabbage will appear on the banks. This place will change daily because Big Branch is coming back to life.

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