Cedric and Sylvia—Dealing with Changes - SailNet Community
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Cedric and Sylvia—Dealing with Changes

Sylvia and Cedric were enjoying the last bites of their breakfast of clams when Sylvia remarked, "You know, Cedric, there sure are a lot of changes going on around here." "I know," Cedric replied. "I’m just settling into my new home and this morning I noticed that the tree which had fallen in front of my old home had been removed. They also took the part of the tree that was left standing, and when they did that, they took a whole lot of the riverbank along with it."

"There are some people who take care of the waterways around here," Sylvia said. "You’ve seen them before, picking up trash and peeking in our dens." "You’re right," Cedric replied. "They’re always writing things down and I know they are counting everything—us, the ducks, and all the different birdsand best of all, they always play with us when they’re here." "It’s good to be watched over," said Sylvia as she quickly turned over, gave Cedric a nudge, and jumped over him, beginning their daily after-breakfast romp.

Something strange looms on the horizon.

Later in the day, after their nap, they felt a quivering of the water. "I wonder what caused that," said Cedric. "Let’s go see," Sylvia replied and they swam together toward the source of the vibration. "I wonder what they’re doing," said Sylvia. "Let’s watch," Cedric replied and they got out of the water on the opposite side of the river from where all the activities were going on. There were huge earth-moving machines and cranes. They were lifting large, square pieces of steel, dropping them into holes in the ground and then pounding them into place so that three-quarters of their length extended into the air above the ground.

 "Whatever’s going on, it sure doesn’t make any sense to me," said Cedric. "Well, you remember how slow people are when they build things, compared to how quickly we otters can construct our dens," Sylvia responded. "Let’s go find some dinner and we can come back tomorrow to see if there is any progress." "No problem," Cedric replied, quickly jumping back into the water. Sylvia followed gracefully and they were on their evening hunt. The vibrations stopped well before sundown so that Cedric, Sylvia, and all their otter friends, as well as the other animals and birds that live in and near the river, enjoyed a beautiful evening and a good night’s sleep.

The following morning Cedric came to take Sylvia to his favorite hunting ground for breakfast. They had each found their first clam of the day and hadn’t even thought of the previous day’s shoreline activities, when the water started to quiver shortly after a big thumping sound. "There it goes again," said Cedric excitedly. "Let’s just enjoy our breakfast," Sylvia responded. "This will probably go on for a long time." Cedric couldn’t wait, so he swam off, shouting back at Sylvia, "I’ll see you there."

 Sylvia quietly finished her clam and swam over to four other otters who were also enjoying their breakfasts. She dove three more times before bringing up a clam to savor. "Have you been to see what’s causing the quivers in the water?" she asked. "No," responded Lillian. "Whenever people start changing things near the river, it never turns out to be anything nice for us." Sylvia didn’t know about any other changes that had taken place near the river, so she was just quiet. When she had finished her second clam, she left the group and swam where she and Cedric had been the day before. She found him already there. Activities similar to the day before were going on, and Cedric said, "It still doesn’t make any sense to me." "Let’s swim upstream a way and find some other otters to play with us. I’m with you," Sylvia happily responded and the two of them swam lazily upstream.

Small changes to the environment can mean big changes for the creatures that live there.

They swam for quite a distance, always looking for more otters, but not seeing any. "This area doesn’t look the same," said Cedric. "I know," replied Sylvia. "It looks like the river banks have all been washed away." They continued looking around this area where they had played many times, but everything looked different. "I think I know what has happened," said Sylvia thoughtfully. "I know," replied Cedric. "All that quivering downstream has loosened up the sand and it has fallen into the river."


"That’s a wise conclusion, Cedric," Sylvia responded. "I thought it was possible that since we have had thunderstorms every day for the past week, that all that rain washed the sand away." "Well, that reason is just as good as mine," Cedric replied. "Both those things are true." "For whatever reason, this place is no fun any more without any riverbanks or places where we can get up on the land. Let’s go back to our own area and enjoy that with all our friends, even if we do have quivering waters. They swam downstream rather forlorn with all the changes happening in their neighborhood.

When they got back to the area near Sylvia’s den, they found five other otters having a grand time playing joyfully, so they joined right in and had an afternoon of fun forgetting all about the vibrating water.

A couple of weeks passed and one morning Cedric rushed to Sylvia’s den where he found her putting the final touches on her daily den cleaning. The quivering waters had ceased and as Cedric breathlessly announced, "They’ve got our picture on a sign!" "Come in, Cedric and sit down," said Sylvia. "Now calm down and tell me what this is all about." "Come with me," said Cedric. "I’ll show you."

People need to act with the plight of animals in mind.
So the two of them left Sylvia’s den and swam to the spot on the river where they could see the cause of the vibrating waters. However, now all the steel beams for a new building had been put into place and there was a sign with some words and, sure enough, there was a picture of two otters in the center of the sign. "I wonder what it says," said Cedric. "I don’t know," said Sylvia. "But it must be that they’re happy to have us here."

"Sylvia, did you notice all the leaves that are falling in the river?" Cedric asked as they sat on the bank. "I did," Sylvia responded. "This has happened before. Don’t you remember?" "Not really," said Cedric. "Changes are always happening. It’s hard to keep track of them all. I just try to take them as they come." "My goodness! Aren’t you sounding mature?" "I don’t know about mature, Sylvia," Cedric responded laughing. "What you see is what you get."

Sharon Cuthbert is offline  
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