Wednesday, May 11, 2011
A Beaver Ate My Trees
When we bought this land six years ago, we selectively cleared, reshaped, drained and landscaped three acres - reclaiming it from poison ivy and beetle-infested pines. Damn hard work. I can work a hacksaw, ax and shovel with the best of them.
We bought and planted two dozen flowering cherry trees only to have all but three die due to poor soil. One in particular, however, thrived. In five years, it grew an eight-inch thick trunk and a 15-foot canopy. A glorious thing to behold in the spring.
At the other end of the place we planted a pear. A deer yanked a major branch one night and split the trunk, and I treated, babied and tied it until it grew back. Twelve feet tall in four years. Last year it made its first pears - two.
Add to that four crape myrtles - two years old - bright red reflecting beautifully against the water in the summer. They'd begun to thicken up nicely. Buds indicated a strong showing for June.
All slain in the path of a beaver in the course of ten days. I teared up at sight of my full-bloom cherry tree on the ground, wood shavings scattered for a five-foot radius around the trunk.
I wanted to kill that animal.
Then I stopped and thought. He was here before me. He gathered the best limbs and trees that suited his purpose. Just because mine were slaughtered in his path wasn't his fault. He had to fulfill his mission to build a home with the right material, to create the best result, satisfy the other beavers.
If I was to make an anology about all this, and I've been known to turn anything into a writer's lesson, I'd call some publishers and agents beavers. If I wanted to be evil, I'd paint them with gnashing yellow teeth, claws, squinty eyes and ugly scaly-looking tails. I'd call them destructive, a blight on Mother Nature's ...um, authors' plans.
Instead, I put metal protection around the base of my remaining trees. I surrounded the bottoms of the trees that have been cut down, because they put out new growth. When I plant new trees, I understand how to keep a beaver's wrath at bay.
In other words, putting this in writer's terms, I've learned from the pain and decided to write better so that no beaver hones its teeth on my work. And never will I allow a beaver to completely destroy my effort to the point I don't regroup and plant again. Instead, I arm myself with the proper knowledge to keep me gardening.
And the beaver moves on to another locale, leaving my babies to thrive in the arms of birds and squirrels who appreciate my trees for what they have become - beautiful.