Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Dial-up Marten

On a $9.99 a month dial-up Internet connection you spend a lot of time waiting for sites, designed for a high-speed world, to load. Sometimes I read a magazine or a book, and quite often I swivel my chair in its tiny alcove to look out a large window at the deck, yard, pond and the bush beyond. Last week, during March Break, I was waiting and gazing and spotted a skinny, sleek brown animal skittering down the hill on top of the late winter snow. He or she found the edge of the pond that stays open all winter due to runoff and before I could blink he’d popped into the water and under the ice. I waited for him to emerge and out of the corner of my eye saw that he’d hopped out at the inlet to the pond, also a small opening in the ice. Below my line of vision he tracked along the shore of the pond while I got the binoculars.
Now I could see that he was sitting up on the bank under a tall, bare yellow birch, pretty much where I leave my towel and flip-flops when I go for a swim in the summer. He was worrying away at something but had his back to me so I couldn’t observe any details about his activity. After five minutes, he took off down to the outlet end of the pond. Back into the water. I shivered. Too much swimming, marten, it’s still winter out there.
A moment later out he came and ran across the frozen pond towards the hill and the bush. In his mouth, practically dragging on the ground, was the largest frog I have ever seen. I then figured he’d had his own frog for a midmorning snack and was taking the rest of the bounty home to the family. I guess the pairing of dial-up, which we’re stuck with due to a remote location, and the views available at that location, do make a bit of sense. I hear we might get high speed out here soon, so now I have two reasons to procrastinate over whether to subscribe. One, I’m too cheap. Two, what about the marten?

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