Muskrat Meditation

Sunday morning,

damp bench,

Deep Creek Lake State Park.


Pandemic pup

sits beside me,

panting after her free run,

hitched up when the ranger



My meditative moment,

the lake’s tranquility

are disrupted by a furry head,

traveling north along the shoreline.


Muskrat? Beaver?

I’m reminded again

of my ignorance,

wildlife, flora, fauna.


We follow the rodent,

diving under,

then resurfacing a surprising

distance toward the lake’s

public boat launch.


Our grassy path

ends abruptly at the rip rap.

The rodent veers out to

deeper waters.


Driving home,

we encounter a lone deer

atop the Cherry Creek Bridge,

dynamited during

the 1970 roads workers’ strike.


On Rock Lodge Road,

I pass the foundation of a new home.

It sits atop the site of my friend Doug’s place,

a stone house, built by his family,

owners of the Stone Cottages,

made famous in 1953,

after a CIA agent slipped LSD

to a man who jumped to his death in NYC.


Their Stone Tavern, taken by eminent domain

to build a bridge.


Doug said he hated what had become of

the Lake.


He died, soon after selling the home,

now just another “tear-down,”

moving to Frostburg.

Diabetes or depression?

We don’t know.


At home, I search “Muskrat or Beaver?”

I make my call.


And I wonder how life has changed for the

muskrat, along this lake,

this once fertile farmland,

creeks and valleys

flooded in 1925 for electric power.


Now a playground of the powerful.


Would the rodent

share Doug’s regrets,

swimming past the foundation

occupying the site of the sturdy

stone house,

the place Doug once called