All posts by Dena Netherton

I'm a wife, mom, grand-mom, singer, pianist, guitarist, teacher, speaker and writer of stories and articles that point the way to Christ. I'm a lover of nature, good food, well-written books, great music, artfully directed theater, and late-night discussions about philosophy.

Fish Creek Beaver

Bruce and I took a walk along Fish Creek Road last evening. A beaver has taken over a large part of Fish Creek, which runs parallel to the road.

A few years ago, when he first appeared, the signs of his presence seemed minimal.

But as the years have passed, Mr. Beaver has really made Fish Creek his home.

He’s built a large lodge.

He’s dammed up several sections of the creek.

He’s downed multiple trees. The damage to trees around his environment is truly awful…or impressive. It looks like a bomb has blasted all the trees down to pointed stumps.

He’s gotten himself a mate, and recently we saw one of his kits swimming upstream of the lodge.

So last evening as we strolled near the beaver environment, two photographers were just leaving.

Aha, they must have seen the beaver if they’re carrying all that heavy photographic equipment and a tripod.

Sure enough, Mr. Beaver was swimming in his do-it-yourself swimming pool. We followed him upstream. He came out of the water and headed straight toward a large aspen tree about ten feet from the water.

Poor tree, you’re doomed.

While he noisily gnawed near the base of the tree, another family joined us to watch.

Beaver must be pretty used to humans because he didn’t seem bothered by our presence.

Mrs. Beaver came out of the water, too, and daintily cut greenery, then dragged it back into the pond and floated toward their lodge.

There are many things you can say about beavers: large rodent, industrious, architecturally amazing, great swimmers, destructive, voracious, a nuisance, or a pleasure to watch.

But the lesson I learn from the beaver is that he continues to build his kingdom, year after year.

If a storm comes and damages a part of his claim, he’s right out there, fixing it.

He inspects his watery property daily and continually maintains it.

He stockpiles food for the days when summertime abundance fades.

God has called Mr. Beaver to be a beaver.

He doesn’t look up at the heavens and shake his fist because of the lot he’s been given.

He doesn’t whine that he was not made an eagle or a moose or a mountain lion.

The beaver has a calling to cut down trees, construct dams, and lodges. Unless he dies, he will be faithful to live out God’s plan.

May I be more like the beaver: humble to do what God instructs, faithful to keep at the job, and determined to expand my influence.



Mouse-like Devotion

A couple of summers ago, we found evidence of mice in our garage so my husband put out a mouse trap. The next morning he called  me to a strange scene. A mouse had been caught and killed in the trap. But next to the trap was another mouse, dead.

We could only speculate that the second one, witnessing the demise of his buddy or mate, had expired from shock.

It was the first time I had ever witnessed such a phenomenon.

I tried to put myself in the second mouse’s shoes…er, paws.

Do I identify that strongly with the sufferings of my own loved ones? That their sufferings or misfortunes become mine as well?

Not like the Apostle Peter who declared that he was willing to follow Jesus even to death, but then denied that he knew Him at the crucial hour.

But more like Priscilla and Aquila, Paul’s fellow workers who risked their lives for him.

Or Andronicus and Junius who were in prison with Paul.

Our little nocturnal intruders into our garage teach me that I, as a human, do not corner the market on loyalty and empathy.

No indeed.

Sometimes we learn about love and brotherly affection from creatures many of us consider vermin.

May I be so devoted.

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Romans 12:10