What is it about a swimming animal that is just so endlessly delightful? Don’t know. But biking past the sloughs down near the river yesterday — yes, I did spend the first real sunny afternoon of spring up in the office, grading — I spotted the twin arrows of paddling-muskrat-wakes, heading away. They spotted me and dove underwater with a slurp. No more ice for them to worry about. At last.
In the backyard the snow and ice are almost totally gone and the traces of a whole winter’s creaturely comings-and-goings are revealed again: mole and mouse tunnels between soil and what was snow, to and from the birdfeeder, squirrel tracks in the mud, rabbit pellets in a pile where they have shoved up the wire to burrow in underneath. One skinny rabbit is out there this morning, hunched and doubtful. Time enough this summer to get serious about blocking them from lettuce and pepper and baby eggplants. For now, it’s enough just to clap my hands, say shoo, get on.
Spring is coming. And the world is big enough for all of us.