Thursday, July 6, 2023

Encounter with an Agile Marmot

Woodchuck (Marmota monax.)

It’s woodchuck season again.
In fields and woodlands
they abound.
I drive slowly,
knowing they’re around.

The “land beaver” or “whistlepig”
is a climber like its squirrel cousin,
only much bigger.
“Woodchuck” has roots in
Native American:
wejack, woodshaw, wuchak,
and monax, the “digger.”

A few days ago
my mother told a story
of a ‘chuck that ran
in front of her motorcycle.
She claimed it pedaled straight backward.
Can they do that?
Surely, that’s a first?

The very next day
one waddled in front of my truck.
I braked and it turned
and walked back to the grass.
I guess his gears did not
include “reverse.”


Photo at top: Woodchuck (Marmota monax.) Wikimedia Commons photo.

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I am a retired teacher who enjoys the outdoors, especially the Adirondacks. My parents took us camping when we were kids, then we attended 4-H Camp in Speculator (a former CCC camp). As an adult, I served on the Camp board for 8 years. I went to my friend's camp in Bloomingdale (Saranac) for 10 years. We enjoyed cross country skiing, canoeing, fishing, snowshoeing, etc. I still hike, cross country and downhill ski, snowshoe. I bicycle and ride a Harley. I play the organ at a 300 year old church.

5 Responses

  1. This is a lovely tribute to one of my favorite animals. Even in my little city, surrounded on four sides by paving, I have a woodchuck refuge where the residents delight me.

    • laura bellinger says:

      Thank you! After my mother told me her woodchuck story, I googled “poems about woodchucks”. I found only two and they were so mean! I’m so glad you are providing refuge!

  2. Rita Sarno-Hrabie says:

    I live in the Northern Adirondacks. I now have what appears to be two of these living under our front porch!

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