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What is your favorite animal? A loaded question for many (or maybe just me); do I go with the obvious choice of dragon, or a more sophisticated creature such as a dolphin, or maybe a tiger? Personally, neither. My favorite animal is one with character, a critter both bold and intelligent, simple yet majestic. A Beaver! That’s right, our wood chewin’, dam building, funny tailed friend is my favorite. They’re so cool! I’m not afraid to throw the word adorable in the mix either if I’m being honest.

Why? Well, picture a desert. The earth is dried and cracked, surrounding a vast nothingness; save a single trickling river. Few call this place home. This barren land holds no promise, has no use. In a land where nothing can flourish, something happened. Something changed and this place that was once dead came to life. Simply put: beavers happened.

My roommate and I found a gem of a documentary on Netflix one night titled Leave It To Beavers. Needless to say this was one of the best documentaries I’ve seen, and I’ve definitely seen my fair share. Exploring the lives of these cute little rodents was rather intriguing. I learned so much about these guys, for example did you know beavers mate for life? I bet you didn’t. Did you know about the hotel service they run out of their dams in the winter? I bet you didn’t. Can you believe it’s not butter?! I sure can’t.

Beaver dams are way more useful in nature than you would think. Beavers damming up rivers forms lakes, widens the river, and helps vegetation grow along the banks; drastically changing the landscape around the river.

Back to the desert and back to the trickling river. This trickling river is now just a regular river and the desert is now lush and green and full of life, though only along the riverbank. Enough vegetation now grows for deer and small animals to live along this river. They live their entire lives along this river.

A beaver’s dam is the reason life grew from this cracked dry land and the reason there is now a lake on this formerly trickling river. Why do I think beavers are so cool? Aside from their tiny furry beaver hands one word comes to mind: growth. I originally used the word change, but I don’t think it is the best word for beavers. Change is too open to interpretation. Change can be bad. So beavers don’t facilitate change; they facilitate growth. They are catalysts, catalysts for improvement.

Why is this growth so important, well I’ll tell you it isn’t as important to a beaver as it is to a deer. Beavers don’t need much more than just a river to swim in and wood to chew on. But deer, and field mice, and birds, and lizards, and fish flock to where beavers are. They want to be near them. I guess you could say beavers are the cool kids on the river.

Keep in mind the growth beavers bring does not stray far from the river. Also keep in mind this river is still surrounded by a desert. Beavers don’t drastically change the entire world, just the little river they live on.

Again, why do I like beavers so much?

Beavers don’t dam up rivers for other animals. They dam up rivers for themselves, and it is so drastically good for other animals they just show up. You see? Beavers really are the cool kids.

Life isn’t about changing the entire world; it is about making your neck of the woods lush and green instead of dry and cracked.