100_5202cropVExpecting to uncover a spider seen there the day before, I curiously lifted a flat concrete slab and met instead the living portrait of a pointed, young, black-eyed woodchuck face. Inches from mine, its steady, blank, and unruffled stare filled the entire frame of a cinderblock hole.

Seen here, after about twenty minutes, the little marmot emerges.

Later, I was amused, but not surprised, when three young woodchucks surfaced like Stooges from the cinders, falling all over each other for daylight.

They clambered the entire way to follow mom along a thin creekside trail worn by generations of groundhogs, visiting her favorite spots and secret burrowing holes where they’ll deftly disappear of a coming day.