I wish Gussie Fink-Nottle was here

I wish Gussie Fink-Nottle was here in this rainy swamp. We need a newt expert. Somewhere in this flooded grass land the rough-skinned newt lurks, skin charged with toxin (watch out Aki).  None lay exposed to the rain that rapidly soaks my coat and cap. I haven’t a clue how to flush one out.

My brief fixation with newts started yesterday at the barber shop where I killed waiting time reading a book on our local plants and animals. There, seeded in rich soil was an article on the rough-skinned newts that thrive here at the Northern end of their range. Now I am cursing the author and P.G. Wodehouse, who planted the idea of newts in his Jeeves and Worster stories. If Fink-Nottle could find newts, so can I.

Half an hour later I leave the swamp with no pictures of newts but a greater respect for Gussie Fink-Nottle. Traveling along Eagle River toward its mouth we reach a large meadow dominated by tall grass now gone yellow dry.  No farmer would have left this hay uncut. Next spring a great collection of geese will hunt the field for seeds and fertilize what they miss with their scat. Today it provides a tan counterpoint to gray sky and the dead green of spruce islands that appear to float on this wealth of unharvested grass.

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