Turtle Cove beaver lodge has been snow-covered since December. That entwined pile of branches more igloo than home. All winter there’s been not one sign of stirring. Castor canadensis hidden inside until spring. But this hiemal season, when so many animals have long since faded to sleep (or torpor, or hibernation, or burmation), these beavers, within the intimacy of their home, find other things to keep themselves engaged. At night, monogamous beavers sidle beside each other, preening themselves until the male nuzzles the female’s neck. Then, with winter’s cold thrusting its way into our homes, these beavers slide into water to
breed beneath ice. Why enter frigid waters? Why leave the pleasure of your den? Because what else is there to do on January nights than to find the one you love, to clasp yourself to them with all your might—birthing winter heat-love.
Sean Prentiss is the author of two memoirs (one in poems), two textbooks, and two anthologies. Finding Abbey: The Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave won the National Outdoor Book Award along with winning three state book awards.
[Author's note about the photo: "The beaver lodge is just over my right shoulder."]