This past weekend, we went for a snowy walk with some friends from Dan's medical school class. It was remarkable for a number of reasons, not least of which was the fact that the dog belonging to said friends appears to be some kind of canine frisby savant. Also, despite temperatures in the low twenties and a late-in-the-day sinking sun, the baby enjoyed himself enough to be almost non-verbal. No crying whatsoever. But the most exciting thing about the walk was neither of these things. It was, instead, Mariam's first up close and personal, entirely hands-on viewing of a beaver lodge.
It is probably important to pause at this juncture and mention that the girl child has an incredible fondness for all mammals, with the possible exception of what she terms "dangerous wild dogs." But beavers fall into a special category of animals so beloved that they have become the inspiration for Halloween costumes, the thing that her fairy tale princesses wish that they could become, the characters in the plays that she writes for her classmates. She really, really loves them.
So, the discovery of this beaver lodge, nestled right alongside the trail on the edge of a creek, was The Best Possible Thing. Our friends mentioned that it would be coming up, but as soon as we rounded the corner and saw how close and accessible it actually was, Mariam ran down the hill breathlessly and started gently examining it, peering into holes to see if she could catch a glimpse of the animals inside.
After spending a few quiet moments peeking through a hole in the side of the lodge, she jumped up and excitedly reported that the lodge was, indeed, occupied, and that she had seen her first live beaver in its very own den. My first instinct was to think that perhaps her enthusiasm had conjured a beaver mirage of some kind, but then the dogs became very, very interested in the lodge as well, and it was clear that Mariam was right. We quickly moved on so as not to disturb our lodge dwelling friends.
In the car on the way home Mariam was quiet for a little while and then said, "When we get to school tomorrow, don't tell anyone about the beaver lodge, okay?"
I thought for a minute and then said,"You mean because it is so good that you need it to be just yours for a little while before you share about it?"