While walking the banks of the Otter Creek in Middlebury near Otter View Park recently, I came across a remarkable piece of beaver work. A log which had been carved into seven distinct lobes laying across a pile of shavings. Examining the tree, I found it to be a 40-year-old ash which had been cut down and hung up in the canopy of another tree at a forty-five degree angle. I believe the beaver that did this, attempting to get the rest of the tree to fall, made seven more deep cuts in the trunk, moving higher with each one until finally getting it to drop on the last. This activity must have taken many nights to complete. Unfortunately for the beaver, the crown of the tree remained irrevocably entangled in the tree above, and the thinner branches and new shoots it would have prized for food and building materials stayed unreachable. However, it did unintentionally leave us an amazing piece of sculpture to appreciate.


– Ron Payne