The Swamp's Newest Resident

I went for a walk through the swamp down below my house the other day. It was the first time in quite a while. It’s been a busy time, and I haven’t had much chance for walking, nature study, or writing.

I couldn’t get over how lush the vegetation was. Greenery in every conceivable shade surrounded me. The trees and shrubs were full of birds in full song. Deer tracks led down to the side of the pond. It was full of life, and I felt better just standing there, taking it all in.

I noticed a moving ripple on the surface of the pond. At first I thought it might be one of the beavers. I could just make out a small nose poking through the surface of the water. It was headed toward a small cove at the mouth of a brook. The trail I was on led to the same spot, and so I went quietly along.

I stood a few feet back, waiting, and sure enough it rounded the end of a log and headed straight for the cove. It was too small for a beaver. Then it got to the really shallow water, and I could see it was a muskrat. The first I’d ever seen in the swamp.

I decided to try to get a good picture. But, I’m still clumsy with the camera, and my movements were too abrupt. I was only able to get this one shot, which wasn’t bad, but I should have set the lighting better. I also could have take more time, watched it for a longer time. Enjoyed his presence. Instead, I spooked him. In all the rushing around of the past few weeks, I’ve lost the art of patience.

Not a total loss. I walked home feeling energized, determined not to let myself get unfocused again, and keep the really important things where they belong.

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