Wednesday, November 7, 2007

the sun on her back...

well, she didn't care if it was -10 c. this morning, she still went out. Actually, it turns out she doesn't mind the ice-cold at all!

Here's the muskrat I saw swimming in the harbour this morning. She was making her way from the pond (lagoon? the water by the memorial), swam under the footpath, and headed northeast.

The morning sun had just come up over the clouds hanging low over the horizon, casting a dabble of gold on her back. The sky was almost completely grey, as you can see from its reflection.

When the ice finally covers the lake (it's beginning its slow creep along some edges), she'll be busy swimming under a meter of ice, foraging for her greens, never mind the cold, never mind the darkness. Muskrats can see in almost total darkness, underneath the ice.

I often see this muskrat perched on the shore by the lagoon, having dragged its morning vegetation onto a rock. She sits there, calm as can be, munching.

The other day I saw 4 muskrats. I think I know where the expression "to bite his/her head off" comes from. It has muskrat origins. One of the muskrats swam up behind the other, but the big one in front simply snapped its head back and bit the upstart in the snout.

Off she went, back to her own munching grounds.

She has to keep an eye out for the mink, though. Mink hunt muskrats. I saw the mink (or should I say the mink saw me?) 2 weeks ago scurrying through those same rocks. She poked her head out and, extending her long neck like the periscope of a submarine (or is that only in 50s movies and cartoons?), stood stock still and stared me right in the eye. She did that a few times, weaving invisibly through the rocks and then, in a guessing game, craning her neck and peering straight at me.

I was on the footpath. I did not get a photo of her. She wouldn't cooperate.

And that is the story of my mink moment (or her person surprise, depending on p.o.v.) .

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