Monday, May 14, 2012

what you may find on an Albertan lakeshore

I spent this weekend picking my way along an uninhabited lakeshore with my dog trotting along ahead of me. She was chasing birds and gleefully bounding in and out of the waves while I contemplated what this lake might have been like a hundred years ago.

I've been reading a book of some of Grant MacEwan's writings. He is the namesake of my alma mater, but he was also a gifted writer and important conservationist, among many other things. His work has been satisfying my craving for stories of Western Canada as it was before the land was ripped up in search of oil, before cities sprawled on out of sight. 

On one of our walks down the shoreline, we met a beaver near his lodge. He swam away from us most urgently, while we admired the craftsmanship of his home. In the time MacEwan writes about, this beaver's pelt was highly prized, so much so that our country's animal emblem was nearly totally extirpated. But these clever creatures would not be wiped from existence. To his credit, the beaver is resilient and resourceful. A tireless worker and a keystone contributor to his ecosystem -- his community.

I will try to be more like him in the future.

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