Friday, December 15, 2017

Outsmarting the Beavers

May 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

The beavers were just doing what their instincts would have them do. But the fact that they chose to build a dam inside the culvert had become an issue for us because the entire valley had flooded as a result. Stephanie and I were on horseback for the morning roundup and we were pushing the herd of trail horses across that valley and into the corrals for the workday. The flooded landscape beneath us however, forced us to reroute back towards the main river and along the weathered buck ‘n rail fenceline, which confused the horses and created quite a challenge for us frustrated wranglers. When we arrived late for breakfast at the main house our foreman demanded an explanation. Explaining the dam and the mess it had caused, we were instructed to spend the rest of the morning dismantling it.

Piece by piece we removed logs, branches and brush from inside the culvert. It was not an easy job, considering we were immersed in water past our waistlines and even though it was mid-summer, it was ice-cold runoff from the towering Tetons above. One log at a time the dam was removed, tossed up the banks beside the culvert until suddenly we felt the weight of the dammed water shift as the pressure began to give way to the other side. Grabbing for dear life to the sides of the culvert and the pungent sagebrush growing within reach, we scrambled up the loose gravel on the banks just in time as the water gushed freely through the culvert and flushed the remaining brush and logs downriver. Stephanie and I, through chattering teeth, laughed and high-fived at our accomplishment.

Later, after each of us had changed into a set of dry clothes, we boasted our hard work and success to our fellow wranglers over mugs of hot coffee and mouthwatering Wyoming chuck-wagon chow. Roast pork, horseradish sauce, cornbread, green beans and oatmeal cookies refueled our ambitions for the afternoon’s chores. Two days later however, we were eating humble pie.

The valley was flooded again. It seemed those pesky beavers had regathered the remaining debris from downstream and from the banks of the culvert and doubled their efforts to dam the flow of the river a second time. Stephanie and I set out once again to undo the mess, and this time we wisely brought a pickup truck and removed all the pieces of the dam to a distance of two miles away, atop a scenic mountain, to a beautiful setting where the entire ranch crew enjoyed a bonfire several nights later. To our satisfaction, the beavers conceded and did not return that summer.

That’s the only dam that I’ve ever dismantled in my lifetime. However, I’ve been guilty of constructing quite a few. Rebellion, pride, bitterness, selfishness, etc, all of these twisted and gnarled branches of “sin debris” that I’ve deliberately crammed into my life piece by piece causing a flooded mess, a stagnant pool that drowns out the Holy Spirit and causes any fruit in my life to stop growing. Finding my life a mess, I fall into the arms of my Saviour. In tears I beg forgiveness and he removes that sin. All too often, I’ve returned to that same debris and begun the process of clogging my life with it once again. God is patient with me time and time again.

I am learning, of course! It just takes this stubborn cowgirl awhile. Isaiah 48:18 says “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:”

Bio:
Though a part of her lives forever in Wyoming, Debbie currently wrangles cows, goats, chickens and her five children at home in Ohio with her husband Mark. It’s apparent that her hobbies include washing dishes, laundry, homeschooling, sweeping floors, cooking and, with another baby due to be birthed soon, endlessly changing diapers.

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