The Shadow of a Smell

Today I walked for close to an hour at the St Olaf Natural Lands, enjoying the somewhat milder weather—the temperature near twenty above, the wind stiff but not piercing, the skies overcast and only just beginning to let loose tiny snowflakes (there'd be a lot more in the afternoon). I thought for sure I'd see a few birds today but I didn't, not a single bird. It might be the time of year. It might be that they're all hanging out near bird feeders in town. Or, suddenly aware of the sound of the wind turbine overhead, it might be that the noise and motion of the wind turbine blades makes the land in its immediate vicinity disagreeable. Looking up at the turbine I notice (with some amount of concern) a giant black mark that snakes from the hub of the turbine half-way down the length of one blade. How many gallons of oil does it take to make a mark that large!?

Most of my walk is through and around two cattail wetlands. The first wetland is choked with cattails. The second is more diverse with areas of other vegetation and more water and currently home to a thriving population of muskrats. There are at least a half-dozen push-ups of various size scattered around the wetland. Seeing the muskrat popups, I flashed back to the lethal young naturalist I was as a child. For several years I as a teenager I trapped muskrats, quite successfully.

I remember the red plastic snow sled I pulled for miles along various trap lines. In the sled, a hardwood pack basket held traps and stakes for making the sets. I also brought along a hatchet (which I still have), an ice chisel, and large black rubber gloves for reaching inside the muskrat houses and working in the water. Not a glamorous picture, probably. But I guarantee you I thought it was as exciting. And I logged an extraordinary number of hours outside.

I could go on. For this memory leads me to wonder what I did with all the bodies. I know that I did the work of skinning and stretching the trapped muskrats myself, but I can’t remember doing it. Though as I try to remember more, the shadow of a smell stirs and rolls over in its slumber, somewhere down deep in a back corner of my mind. So I think I’ll stop here before it wakes fully.

Publicado por scottking scottking, 10 de enero de 2017

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Hongos de Repisa (Familia Polyporaceae)

Observ.

scottking

Fecha

Enero 9, 2017 11:55 AM CST

Descripción

Shelf Fungi on willow
St Olaf Natural Lands
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Rata Almizclera (Ondatra zibethicus)

Observ.

scottking

Fecha

Enero 9, 2017 11:50 AM CST

Descripción

Muskrat push up
St Olaf Natural Lands
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Tules (Género Typha)

Observ.

scottking

Fecha

Enero 9, 2017 11:43 AM CST

Descripción

Cattails
St Olaf Natural Lands
Northfield, Minnesota

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