Coming of Winter

Still water at Nahant Marsh as autumn endsAutumn lingered long at Nahant Marsh. After the November snow melted away in rain, the rain kept coming well into December. Wave after wave drenched the bare autumn trees and tawny prairie meadows. Thunderstorms worthy of summer rolled through the marsh in December. And the warmth kept it all liquid. Instead of deep snow, flood.

Morning at Nahant Marsh on one of the last days of fallThe ground stayed soft and yielding underfoot. The marsh remained unfrozen, and as the river deepened, so too did the pools and ponds at Nahant. The warm wet days continued for quite a while. Not very cold and no sign of snow. When the sun came out between rainstorms it was balmy and beautiful.

Beaver cut grove at Nahant MarshPerhaps all the good weather for outdoor work days allowed the beavers of Nahant Marsh to really work overtime. Every year, as autumn slides into winter, the beavers get busy. They reinforce their winter lodges and lay a store of food nearby. There’s much work to do in order to have food to last and a cozy place to shelter through a bitter winter. The winter may yet turn hard.

Beavers' pile winter food near their lodge at Nahant MarshThe busy beavers have laid an impressive stack of saplings near their winter shelter. Are they aware of a coming winter that will be so deep and cold once it finally settles in that they knew they’d need all that? Or did all the good weather simply allow them extra time to pile up a bigger stash? Winter will come, and Nahant Marsh’s beavers will be well provisioned.

Cold did roll into the marsh. The rain turned into ice, then became snow. Hard winter winds swept in bitter cold, rattling the empty trees, freezing the water and hardening the earth—the coming of winter.

Snow and ice at Nahant Marsh

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