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Copyright 2001 Bruce Ling

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Otter Stomp

From the C.D. "How It All Started"

     Otters are probably the most graceful of all the water mammals, and the most ungainly of the land animals.  On land they can't run, they either waddle, or if speed is required, they "hunch."  They are members of the Mustela family, which includes Badgers, Mink, Weasels, Martins, Skunks, Fishers, African Zorrillas, etc. The Otters are the only ones that dwell in water, and are the most easiest to get along with (play being their main occupation).

     I was involved in one of those waking type dreams, where you find yourself staring into space.  In this place I could hear music building in volume, as if I was walking toward the source of the music. I saw myself approaching, from above, a cut bank in the river, the drop to the water being about 12 feet.  Then through my eyes I approached the edge cautiously and very quietly, having deduced that the source of the music was coming from below on the river bank.  Creeping on my belly, I peered over the edge to the festivities below.

     There was a deck built into the bank at about 2 feet off the water level, and cut into the bank was someone's home. From where I lay, looking down hidden by the grasses, I saw a round wooden door ajar, and gingham curtains in two flanking windows.  The deck was rather wide, in that it contained a number of small, round 4 person tables, each one occupied by the inhabitants of the river bank and adjoining meadow.  I saw pitchers of an ale-like beverage, and a lady muskrat in an apron and mop hat was serving a tray of bar-b-qued mice on sticks to a table of mink.  

     The source of all the wild music was a Pike with an eye patch sawing away at a fiddle, a serious looking Owl frailing a banjo, an intoxicated Raccoon playing rhythm guitar, and a rather cranky looking Snapping Turtle slapping an enormous stand-up bass.  The whole scene, incredulous as it was, could not compare to what was occurring off the end of the dock. 

     Down on the narrow strip of sand that separated the River from the bank, 4 otters, oblivious to everything but the beat of the music, danced can-can style up and down the narrow swath, each tightly clutching a crawdad.

     I confess, I swiped the tune they were playing.

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by Bruce Ling 5-2002