Wild Moment: Big Bad Bob of the Yukon

Published: 16th October 2017

Written after an encounter with a family of otters on a wild Scottish river

Lutra Lutra

A swirl in the water left a vortex,
A darting missile shot across the river,
Only seen by Polaroid eyes.
With the speed of a torpedo,
Like a Spitfire in the skies above,
Looping the loop and barrel rolling.
Reflected in and below the surface of the water,
Synchronising moves twinned-together,
As the astronaut turns and summersaults in zero gravity,
So the otter rolls and tumbles under water.

With agility – twisting, spiralling, turning and rotating.
Green below the interface between land and water,
A hidden world like the underground world of caves,
Like being on another planet,
Unseen by humans and avoiding all detection.
No underwater cameras can capture this swimmer
No film exists of its underwater acrobatics.

A world of order, where every species has its place.
Different animals carry out their necessary tasks,
As they have done for hundreds of thousands of years.
The kingfisher is a turquoise flash on the river’s bank,
Harpooning heron and salmon swimming upstream.
Beneath the mirror, like a two-way mirror in an interrogation,
We can't see them but they can see us.

©️ Robert Egelstaff

Roberto Avalon otter

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