Mr. Cleaver Is Awake
On the second day of spring, a blanket of snow covered the black hole just outside Harmony Grove.
I laced up my boots and walked out the door with a cup of strong, black, coffee.
My steps were muffled by the fresh powder, making all the bitching of the newly returned birds in the tree tops, loud and clear and beautiful.
Eventually I was out of the woods and I meandered my way down the driveway. I like to end my morning walk by inspecting the water flow that runs underneath the driveway from the spring fed pond on one side, to the creek on the other.
It is a habit I picked up last summer after Mr. Cleaver and his gorgeous little buck toothed bride with her pancake tail, set up housekeeping in the bank behind our house
His number one goal besides pleasing the Missus, has been to dam up the culvert that runs underneath the driveway.
He has OCD tendencies.
Especially when it comes to the sound of running water.
Last summer my sweet Sven and I went to war with our new neighbors before understanding the delicacy of his disorder.
Of course we tried to be welcoming at first. But they were very pushy and they paid no attention to our neighborhood association rules.
Well, I am ashamed to say that things got ugly.
Not bullets or underwater traps or beaver pelt ugly.
But ugly just the same.
There were power washers, hip waders, a twenty foot rod that is still jammed inside the culvert, wire fencing, spy cameras, mesh around tree bottoms, the painting of the trees, the reconquering and rebuilding of the pier, and then.
That was my husband's idea.
"What if we just let things be?" he'd said.
This was a lot less exciting, but also not as much work. And to be honest, we were running out of ammunition, funding, and ideas. Our troops were suffering from battle fatigue and NATO never returned our calls.
It was a lot more fun to sit on the back deck with a glass of wine every evening and watch the newlyweds go about their business of changing the entire eco system with no more than a couple oversized teeth.
And then came winter.
Here in Wisconsin this winter felt particularly long which is weird since time is moving ahead at warp speed.
As I tramped through the snow day after day and listened to hundreds of hours of the unabridged version of Game of Thrones while putting thousands upon thousands of jigsaw pieces together, I often wondered what was happening inside that little bungalow in the bank behind our house.
Was Mr. Cleaver swimming back and forth under the ice to the food pantry he had set up under the pier that is practically floating away?
Does the missus have any buns in her oven?
Should I be planning a baby shower?
I inspected the water flow under the driveway on the second day of spring.
First I looked on the creek side.
It was about the same as it had been the day before and all winter.
Then I looked on the pond side.
There he was, swimming toward his dam.
"Good morning Mr. Cleaver," I stammered. "How have you been?"
Slid under the water.
I think we are off to a good start this year.