Montana Wolf

Friday, March 9, 2012

Full Moon Mink

I sit at the break of day where I can see the opposite bank of the Fisher River. It's only twenty yards away, down a slight hill. Until yesterday my imagination was filled with a sighting of a bobcat on New Years Day. It's always the case. Once I see something in one particular spot my memory seeks to reproduce it. So I'm always looking over there, for one more glimpse of bobcat.

Yesterday had been edgy. The largest solar flare in years bombarded the earth. My body seethed with current. I closed down communication portals following a sweet talk with daughter Hope, took to the couch and switched on a 1946 Sherlock Holmes movie. Turned the house into a metaphorical cave. Darkness fell as I poured myself a glass of Riesling and caught movement out the window; a dark thin form made her way along the bank, west to east, weaving between crusty snow, tawny grass, fallen logs and the bulging river. An otter, I presumed. Because that was my context. Then I realized it didn't move with that familiar river otter hump. It was smaller, sable brown and sleek. Onto Google I went, checking out river otters, martens, fishers and minks. Minks?

She was doing what minks do, moving determinately, working the riverside. I watched for two minutes, which in the world of wildlife sightings, is stupendous. I didn't reach for my camera. I didn't want to take my eyes off the crepuscular creature ... to lose one precious moment of her essence. Almost out of sight, she slipped into the river and swam against the flow.

I'll make my way up that bank today. Check for tracks. A worthy task on this, Hope's birthday; the last full moon of winter. Depending on the culture, this moon is known as the Full Crust Moon, Moon When the Eyes are Sore from Bright Snow (Lakotah), and Moon of the Winds (Celtic). For myself, it will forever be the Mink Moon, linked in memory with the celebration of Hope's birth.

Binocs and camera at my side, my eyes scan the riverbank 'in hope' as I push the buttons on the phone; wait for her to answer that I might break out in one more gregarious birthday song. 

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