Sunday, February 19, 2012
Nuts About Squirrels
Coming home from work one cold overcast afternoon, I heard the soft mournful barking of a squirrel high in a tree. As I approached my condo, I looked up and could see one solitary squirrel tucked into the crook of a barren leafless tree. There were no other creatures about, just him, and his cry struck a chord with me. I felt the loneliness, the solitariness in that sound, as if I had made it myself. Where I live now, squirrels thrive; with all the trees around, one can only imagine the plethora of nuts they find and bury and thrive on. When I walk around my condo neighborhood, I feel their companionship, listening to the soft sounds of the rustling leaves as they scatter about seeking out food. Some days I feel they are the only friends I have, in addition to the rabbits I share my home with. One thing is certain--Nature is a constant friend, always there, can always be depended on. We are all a part of the natural world--that, if nothing else, is consolation for one as myself who lives a solitary life these days.
I used to feed the squirrels when I lived with my husband. We had a deck and a birdfeeder, which inevitably meant squirrel invaders. Initially--so many years ago now--I had fought a long, losing war in an effort to defeat these gray,bushy tailed rodents from stealing food meant for birds, trying everything from cayenne pepper to moth balls. In the end, I never could keep them from eating my crocus bulbs or finding a new way into the newest bird feeder we had purchased for the deck. Anyway, what was wrong with feeding the squirrels too? They belong to this earth as much as human beings and robins do. If they could only learn to share, leave something for the birds, instead of consuming everything in sight. Our feathered friends need to live just as they do. When you think about it, there might be a lesson in that for human beings too.