Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | June 14, 2010

A Beaver’s Tale

Bucky the beaver had lived on the river for a very long time. Many years before, his father made the decision to move the family to this river. Though Bucky and his young siblings protested at the time, the head of the family knew that the move was in the best interest of his family. Dad knew a few things that the young beavers didn’t know: He knew that resources had been on the decline for a long time; it was becoming harder every year to find the twigs and fallen timbers necessary to keep the family lodge in good shape; much less water was now flowing through the river, and it was becoming shallower with the passing years; the water lilies that were a food staple for the beaver family had all but disappeared in recent years. Dad had recognized that it was time to move on, and so he lead the family away from the familiarity of the place that they called home and off toward an unknown place and an unknown future. Though he didn’t know what lay ahead, Bucky’s dad knew that to do nothing meant certain—if slow—death.

So the family settled into a new life in a new place. And it was a wonderful place to call home. Plenty of water, plenty of food, plenty of trees and twigs—everything that the beaver family could have ever wanted in a new place to live. The beaver siblings eventually came to realize that Dad was right to have moved them away to a place where they could grow and thrive. They came to appreciate the great wisdom of their father, and they could only hope that they would be as wise as him in the decisions that lay before them.

The years went by, and one-by-one Bucky’s brothers and sisters all moved on with their lives. They moved away from their familiar home to strike out on their own. And so they each began their families in other places, on other quiet streams, in unfamiliar woods that would soon enough become home. Bucky, however—who was the oldest of the brood—decided to stay where he was, at the old homestead, raising his own family in the place that had been his home for so long.

Many more years went by quickly as Bucky raised his own family. Now he was becoming concerned that his home was slowly being placed in jeopardy. Over time, the water flow of the river had gradually subsided, the river became shallower, and vegetation in and around the river was becoming quite sparse—the same conditions that caused his father to uproot his family in search of a better place to live all of those years earlier. Bucky finally decided it was time for action. It was time to make drastic changes or face an eventual, but certain, death.

So Bucky had a series of meetings with his neighbors who were also greatly concerned about the threat to their homes and to their very lives if something wasn’t done soon. The best minds got together and reasoned through the situation. After much discussion, it was finally decided by the leaders of the community that it was time to throw off the embrace of complacency and take charge of their destiny. It was decided that the best immediate plan of action was to build a new dam downstream a bit. This dam would be higher and built more rigidly than any of the other dams currently on the river. It would breathe new life into the community by dramatically raising the level of the river, thus providing a new infusion of life-sustaining water and allowing the desperately needed vegetation and healthy forestland to return. This new dam would be the means by which the beaver community would survive and forge headlong into the future.

But there was a problem. In order to be most effective, the dam had to be built in close proximity to the lodge of a crusty old set-in-his-ways beaver named Wilbur. From the outset, Wilbur opposed the project. “We shouldn’t interfere with the way things are,” said Wilbur. “We just don’t know what we might be getting into. What if we run out of money halfway through the project? What if we upset some sort of natural balance and cause more trouble for ourselves? What if we really get in over our heads on this and then don’t get the results that we would want? I kind of like things the way they are now. I’m quite comfortable, thank you, and I just don’t want to take the risk of possibly becoming quite uncomfortable.” So old Wilbur nixed the project at every turn, until finally the community just gave up and decided to let things be.

Well the river did dry up, but by then many in the community had moved their families to better places, much as old Bucky’s father had moved his family so many years before. The river dried up, the woodland became decimated from lack of water, and the vegetation died. And only a few old beavers remained, including Wilbur, who managed to eke out a minimal existence. In time, these old beavers passed the same way as the old river, and there was nothing left of the vibrant community that once was.


  1. Egad–now, that’s depressing! :/

  2. Yea. It really is.

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