It was just after dawn. I was up beside the pond. It was one of those mornings when you can be at peace with the world. The sun through the clouds gave an indigo tint which was most noticeable on the branches that formed the dam. The calm waters set me to thinking of another time when I had visited this spot. A darker time.
My mother had called me to tell me that my stepfather Joe had gone out again. I feel that I should explain about Joe. Both he and my mother believed he was getting a bit absent minded. Neither would face the truth. A visit to the doctor was out of the question. I couldn’t convince them he should go, if only for a check up.
I knew where he might be so I set off for the brook. I met Steve in his garden and trying to appear casual asked if he’d seen Joe. He knew the story but confirmed that Joe hadn’t passed within the last half hour. He offered to take a walk round the village to see if he could find him. I thanked him and hurried on, sure that I was most likely to find him.
I walked out from the trees that bordered the river and there he was. I shouted out so as not to startle him, he was standing on the bank without coat or hat. He turned and his eyes were red. Suddenly his face lit up and putting a finger to his lips motioned me to be quiet and come and sit down. Not speaking, he pointed to the far side of the lake. I followed his gaze knowing that I would not see what he imagined he could see. We had been through this before as he looked for lost memories.
This time though was different. I heard a splash and to my amazement saw what appeared to be the snout of a very large rat. It was moving rapidly , leaving a vee-shaped trail of bubbles. Then I understood his tears, not sadness but joy. For the first time beavers had re-colonised the river and they were the builders of the log dam that had formed this pond. I too cried. We sat quietly watching these settlers until I finally put my arm around Joe’s shoulders to guide and help him home.