My home is Patagonia. I was born here, as was my mother, born to chew the delicious trees to build our dams. I used to feel powerful, making a tall Southern Beech Tree tumble to the earth and splash into the water. Now the very idea makes me shudder. Let me tell you how this transformation took place.
One day, when I was a young beaver, happily chomping away at one mid-sized tree and enjoying the massage the action provided for my teeth, I suddenly spotted a vision in the branches of a neighboring tree that made my heart flutter. A green and red parrot was grooming her soft feathers, alone in the tree, pleasingly plump and oh-so-hot with fiery red tail feathers.
I smiled up at her. “Fine day for chopping down trees, wouldn’t you say?”
To my surprise, she took off and flew away, taking my heart with her.
I was pleased to spot her again, along with a small family group, in a cluster of trees next to the stream.
She seemed to be arguing with a male parakeet who had her eyes. “He’s fairly harmless,” she said. “And he’s so handsome.”
I blushed, sure she was referring to me.
The male roared, “No tree-murderer is handsome! You will marry an Austral Parakeet, and if I ever get a chance to peck that beaver’s eyes out I will.”
I hoped she hadn’t been referring to me. But I was in vain. As soon as the birds caught sight of me, they scattered, calling out rude names.
Now I seemed alone in the forest. I shrugged and began chewing a tree to ease the anxiety in my teeth. I got through the outer flesh to the inner core, and chewed away the meat all the way around. Soon the tree toppled.
I heard a scream. Mournful cries erupted from the various luckier trees where the other parakeets were hiding. Then I noticed a lovely green bird was pinned under one of the branches of the tree I’d just felled. It was my love.
I tried desperately to blow air back into her beak, to lift the tree branch off her broken body, but it was to no avail. I didn’t even defend myself when her father swooped down and began pecking violently at my head. That pain was nothing compared to the devastation in my heart.
Because of what I am, I am my true love’s killer. I was born here, but surely I’m not meant to be here if my diet conflicts with the needs of the amazing Austral Parakeets. That’s why I’m departing for Canada tomorrow. I humbly invite – no, I implore – any like-minded beavers to come with me, and leave the trees to stand tall for their parakeet inhabitants.
Image credits in order of appearance:
1. “Beaver lake” by Makedocreative – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beaver_lake.JPG#/media/File:Beaver_lake.JPG
2. By Paulo Fassina (Parrot Eating Uploaded by Snowmanradio) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
3. “Patagonia Andes au Chili”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Patagonia_Andes_au_Chili.jpg#/media/File:Patagonia_Andes_au_Chili.jpg