ESCANABA - Along the lake or down by the riverside is where we'd all like to be in the summertime.
The laughing of the loons and the singing of the gulls are the music of August.
An unsuspecting guest is on vacation with us. If we are on the dock by the fishing boat or on the deck by the cabin, someone is watching us.
Karen Wils photos
Mr. Mink playing “pop goes the weasel” from the rocks by the river.
The muskrat slowly swims through the summertime lake.
Make room on the picnic blanket. Mr. Mink is going to make a quick visit. Like a flash, the lithe little blur of cocoa brown streaks across the summer day. Right along the sandy beach in front of us or in and out of the rocky river ledge, the little critter runs.
We humans can't get close enough to the water in the warm months. Fishing, canoeing, sailing, and camping all bring us nose to nose with Mr. Mink.
One of about ten different members of the weasel family that live in Michigan, the mink is seldom far away from a body of water. Their little paws seem to float on the ground because they move so swiftly. They are excellent swimmers and divers too.
We love those lazy days of summer by the lakeside. When the golden sun rises over the misty cattails and dewy wet dragonflies, there's no prettier place on earth. Our summertime treasures, like sandy shores, clam shells, crayfish claws, milkweed blossoms and family time, are entwined around the world of the wild mink.
Most of the time Mr. Mink stays pretty well out of sight, hiding in rocky crevices and beneath roots and plants. But when he is on a hunger mission, almost nothing or nobody will stand in his way. Minks are in the weasel family and they need a lot of food to power their hyperactive lifestyle.
They are equipped with sharp claws and teeth to catch rodents, fish, frogs, crayfish and just about anything that moves. Its very favorite prey is the muskrat. Many hours of hide and go seek are played between the mink and the muskrat in their watery world.
The wild mink is a native animal to Michigan. It is active all year long, even under the ice-capped, snow-covered lakes, rivers, wetlands and woodlands. The mink stays brown all year, unlike his cousins the ermine and weasel.
Contented mink purr much like a cat. I think we should take a tip from this curious critter.
When the sun is gleaming off of the lake or river, when the fishing is good, the flowers are blooming and the cattails are swaying, purr with contentment.
Sharing the shoreline and the summer days with Mr. Mink is a Michigan treat. Soon autumn-colored leaves will be reflecting off of the river.
Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published weekly in Lifestyles.