Monday, September 30, 2013

Beast of the North Woods

One month to go at Carlsbad Caverns. Assuming that I don't get upended by the pending government shutdown. Either way, I'm thinking about where to go next. Perhaps to the west coast, where most of my comrades dwell. The north woods of Washington and Oregon.

At the high altitudes, at my old home of Crater Lake National Park, the rain and snow fall hard. The mountain hemlock trees bend under water's weight. Somewhere among the column trunks, a beast glides for branch to branch, quick and silent. The fisher (Martes pennanti), of the weasel family (mustelids.) Equipped with claws and canines, a voracious appetite, and an amazing lack of fear. Ready to take on prey that is armed, dangerous, and much larger than itself (i.e. a porcupine).

When I encountered footprints in the snow, in a snowy spring at Crater Lake, I developed a fascination with the creature who left them behind. The fisher now appears in my sketchbook, and co-stars in my new comic book (currently being penciled and inked.) The fisher has had considerably less interest in me, being preoccupied with the pursuit of rats and rabbits. However, I am sure that as I trekked through the forests of the north, the fisher has watched me--from an unseen vantage point in the trees.

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