I saw one on the suburban shore of the Niagara.
Too large to be someone’s pet ferret, it puzzled me.
Mike set me straight. They had been seen
across the river on Grand Island. Mink.
And now, in Missouri. I think. Or thought.
The first time, swimming across a river –
what I would call a stream after a life on the Niagara –
to hide among trees and roots tumbled downstream
in a flood. It was low water the second time,
when I saw one ten miles away, loping along the shore.
The last time? Same place as the first, but the trees
and roots were long washed downstream, rivers doing
what rivers do. Farm country and woods, where
I might expect to see a mink. Or did I? River otters
are native to Missouri, and more common.
Too large for mink, and no white markings.
But what’s the difference? Indeed, why
differentiate? Both are beautiful,
and in their place. I’m sure both would
respect the other’s territory, that neither would
take it upon themselves to destroy the other’s home.
So I paddle, in both places, hoping for a glimpse
of that peace that seems so foreign to the outside world.
This is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: EVERWILD, where Sherry Marr asks us to “write from that place of holding onto wildness of soul, to balance the wild love and wild grief we swing between on any given day, at this time of utter unpredictability, when Mother Earth herself is providing us with comfort in our grief, even while she herself is bleeding.”
Off prompt, but shared with Day 21 at napowrimo.net.
Image source: Missouri Department of Conservation