Monday, April 30, 2007

Little Helpers

10" x 40"
Mixed Media
On Canvas

I'm not sure that I ever posted this image before. I painted it at the tail end of summer in 2005. I love watching beavers as they munch away at trees and swim around dragging ridiculously cumbersome branches behind them as they prepare winter caches and put the finishing touches on lodges and dams.

It's especially fun when there are little ones about trying to help mom or dad, grabbing little twigs and swimming along beside their parents.

You have to be patient if you want to see this. You have to sit very still and you can't shift or eat or sing or anything to pass the time. Just stillness and a good spot downwind (I assume...I actually don't know much about beavers' sense of smell). I do know that they are shy.

My dad used to to take us out to watch the beavers when I was small and the wonder I felt then continues to this day. Of course, the difference is that these days I don't toss pebbles at them to hear the smack of their tails on the water surface anymore! Well, not always.

One thing that never left me is a sweet yearning to be able to dive down with them and watch as they make their home snug and secure; observe their little expressions of love and family; listen to the whimper of their gentle communication. Good old beavers. Their numbers aren't so low now that we don't make ostentatiously tall hats out of them (do we still make small hats?) but they are threatened by this manic development Alberta's boom has brought.

Ah well, for now you can go out to almost any wetland-ish area with some deep waters and if you are very patient and very quiet, you can see them for yourself.

Unlike those stingy fairies. But that's another story.

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