We are So Lucky


Little Birdie sets up bear traps. Ropes, logs, rocks, big and small. I am sent on a mission for red berries. For the bear bait. He places berries carefully into the trap, and instructs: now watch out, step back, and don’t trip the trap. Then on to fishing and beaver hunt. This is his favorite place, the mud. “Trail closed ahead due to flooding”, the sign reads. But Little Birdie does not read human, he reads racoon tracks, and we press on. The Beaverville changes little, spring, summer, fall or winter, it is dead trees, two beaver dens, and still water. Something different here now, the smells of the ground baked by summer still decomposting with pungent richness, the crunchy wind in the cattails, and the light squeezed in the shadows thin, the deer is turning gray, the gangs of winged visitors are unusually chattery, spring water striders all but gone, and one last optimistic bullfrog denying the coming of winter.

The colors are rich now, the azure of the waters reflecting fall sky is almost unnatural. Little Birdie makes his tools, he fishes, searches for frogs and mud puppies. Girl finds the musk rat hideout. They measure the depths with sticks. Then unexpectedly, they both lose their balance and fall into the mud. Covered, waist down, in thick, earthly skins. Tears and muddy fingers, we scrub them clean on the grass, still summery soft. And on we go, to check the traps.
I am so lucky! Little Birdie exclaims.
Why? I ask
Because I found a dime yesterday, and now I found a way to walk through the mud, and I may even find a bear!
I am trying to remind him that he is more likely to find a dime in a mud than a bear, for there are no more bears in Illinois, but such nonsensical facts do not interest him.
I know, there are, I know there are! he says.
I am so lucky, I think to myself.

beaverville3beaverville2CamoWe bundle up on a rainy night, thanking the skies for making more mud. And we watch a beautiful film, Tales of the Last River Rat, with Kenny Salwey, a modern-day American hermit, living a self-sufficient life on Mississippi river. Following the snapping turtles hatching, birds migrating, rattle snake hunts, Little Birdie is already planning his next adventure.

Little Birdie may be right. Sooner or later bear may be back in Illinois. A few black bear sightings had been recorded in Illinois since 2009. We watch a film on faith and tolerance, Little Boy, in which an eight year old boy befriends a Japanese man in WWII California in his faithful attempts to bring his father back from war. Who knows what faith may bring back, men still alive from wars, bears hungry for red berries, or rattle snakes who almost vanished since those days when Kenny’s uncle got 600 in one season.



About BeeHappee

Where have all the bees gone? Where have all the flowers gone? https://beehappeenow.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Homeschooling, Nature, Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to We are So Lucky

  1. noblethemes says:

    Stunningly beautiful, Bee. As always, your narratives of life are so deep, rich, warm and inviting; they are refreshingly REAL and bring to me some melancholy. Oh, would God grant me the opportunity to live more like this, or must my children and I be forever caught in the “contemporary” world without wonder … but, I also know that there is wonder, mysterious beauty, and enchanting life all around me! So I pray for eyes to see, ears to hear, mind to understand, and heart to deeply appreciate. Amen. 🙂

  2. The smooth narration gives credence to the photos. Wonderful!

  3. Zambian Lady says:

    Nice narrative and photos. I like it when I see children doing outdoorsy stuff. Most of them stay indoors too much these days.

  4. shoreacres says:

    You want rattlesnakes? Come to Texas! I listen every week to an Outdoor show on the radio — the sort that comes on at 4 a.m. and goes for two or three hours, because who wants to listen to people talk about hunting and fishing, or the population of teal, or where the geese are? Anyway, lots of people call in, and one was a fellow who was tearing down an old hunting blind. It was elevated, and when the posts came out of the ground, so did two big nests of rattlesnakes. Oh, my.

    I’m starting to slog around in less developed territory, and I need a good pair of snake boots. I have hiking boots, but rattlesnakes strike high and hard, and my boots aren’t good enough.

    We have black bear sighted occasionally now in East Texas, too. There are bobcats here, and coyote, and some foxes, but the red wolf is gone. You might enjoy this tale of how the last red wolves were made extinct in the wild, and then reintroduced. There’s a chance now that the species can reestablish itself.

    Chambers, Liberty and Galveston counties are mentioned in the article. Chambers county is where the Frascone winery is.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Wow, thanks, Linda, those red wolves are beautiful! When I was a kid, my dad would tell stories of his childhood how he would walk to school, and the trip included about a mile of trek through the woods and the woods back then had wolves (1955 in Lithuania), how a few times he came face to face with a wolf, as a 7-8 year old kid. I was always so jealous of his walk to school through the woods even if wolf story sounded a bit scary.
      Getting up at 4 am to listen to radio about rattle snakes, now that is some passion.. 🙂 Stay safe and enjoy the less developed territories!

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