When a groundhog lives in Vermont, and there are plenty that do, we call them woodchucks. We have a village of woodchucks still sleeping where our backyard slopes down to the field behind the house at Stone Hill Farm.
Our five-pound pussycat, imagining that it can make breakfast of a eight-pound woodchuck, is hanging out above ground waiting for the first of them to surface. The temperature has soared into the 50s, and she scents, or perhaps hears, the first stirrings below.
The cat is wise, but the woodchuck is wiser. No observer of woodchucks has more acutely captured the woodchuck’s world view than Robert Frost, a native of this region, who, speaking from the woodchuck's point of view, observed:
“. . . though small
As measured against the All,
I have been so instinctively thorough
About my crevice and burrow.”
Later this spring we will release the first apps in our all new Fieldstone Guides to Nature, featuring our volume on mammals including our friends the woodchucks. Like our furry neighbors, we have been in a certain form of hibernation, exercising our own version of instinctive thoroughness in our burrow. As the warmer, longer days return, we join our subterranean friends in looking forward to reemergence. We hope you'll join us. Add your name to our list below and we'll let you know when the new Fieldstone Guides are released.