on dragonflies, a carcass, and beavers

There be beavers in Salt Creek.  He found evidence as he was ambling along this past Saturday.  Downed trees and stumps chewed to a fine and tapered point.  Another tree, still standing, which was a work in progress.  Where they make their home is anybody’s guess.  He didn’t see a lodge, but he didn’t spend a lot of time looking.  He was in a hurry to check up on the carcass of a deer he’d found lying by the edge of a small, green pond a couple weeks back.  When he’d first seen the animal it was still barely alive, though obviously down and not getting back up.  He had returned the next day to see if there were any buzzards, which there were not.

Returning after two weeks, he could smell the subtle undertones of rot as he neared.  Not too strong, and maybe even imperceptible if he hadn’t already known what was there.  There was a small trail that broke between the thick shrubs and brambles that surrounded the water hole, and the smell was there too, stronger, but not overwhelming.  He stood on the muddy bank where the receding water revealed the prints of the other deer and wildlife that drank there.  He stood, looked across, maybe 8 to 10 yards, and could see what was left.  not much.  The bones had been picked clean.  Funny, he thought, how bones don’t look like bones.  They were a reddish brown color, largely indistinguishable from the ground where they lay, scattered.  Again, if he hadn’t known they were there, he likely wouldn’t have seen them at all.

As he walked out of the woods, the sun was soon to set over the field, sinking behind the trees.  The field was filled with blooming yellow sunflowers and the sun shining through their petals.  Small insects and dragonflies were ascending, silhouettes and specks of light both cascading upwards to loop and hover, sway up and downwards again.  The dragonflies were feasting on the smaller, slower insects, dipping in rapid fire arcs, rising again to meet one another in midair for the briefest moment before resuming their flight.

The smaller insects’ wings were illuminated by the sun so that they appeared almost as glowing specks of dust, or fluff.  One rose up before him just as the dragonfly swooped in from somewhere off to the side, paused, with its back to the sun, four wings and segmented body framed and held static in the light, before continuing on, leaving only emptiness.

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