Why Bother Watching the Squirrels?
Since summer began, my morning routine includes taking my breakfast out to the picnic table that my husband built for me a few years back. While forking scrambled eggs into my mouth and slurping down one more cup of coffee, my face is normally stuck in a book. But lately, I’ve been distracted by nature, namely the squirrels.
Our picnic table is placed in such a way that I can view our backyard. Though it is too expensive to water our lawn, the intermittent summer rain showers have kept the grass verdant. Our cherry, apple, pear and hawthorn trees are so thick with leafy green foliage that they conceal me from the neighboring houses. My backyard haven is a peaceful, private setting and except for the commotion from the squirrels, quiet.
I am not particularly fond of squirrels. Years ago, I was traumatized by one when it crawled through a hole in the bedroom ceiling of an old shack I lived in at the time. When I saw the thing sitting on my bed, I raced from the room, out the door and down the road looking for help. Like mice, squirrels are unpredictable. You never know if they will run up your leg, bite your neck, or jump on your head.
But lately, I’ve been distracted by these backyard creatures, so much so that I’ve skipped reading my book while spooning granola and blueberries into my mouth. Instead, while keeping a safe distance from them, I’ve been watching the squirrels who inhabit my haven.
There are only two of them and they live in a well established nest in our hawthorn tree. As long as we’ve lived at our present address, thirty-one years, the nest has sat high up in that particular tree. I am not sure how many squirrels have come and gone from that nest, but it always seems to be occupied. I think this pair are young siblings, at least their behavior lends itself to that assumption.
I won’t say that they are cute, but their antics are funny, playful and fast moving. They play what I’d term hide and seek, but they do not stay in one place while hiding. Instead, they move in circles around any one of the tree trunks. One squirrel is always just ahead and out of sight of the other. When one stops on one side of the tree, the other stops too. Then in an instant, the chase resumes.
Another playful behavior I’ve noticed are their acrobatic abilities. If by chance one squirrel is on the ground ready to set forth with frolic and fun and the other one is still sitting on a branch wiping the sleep from its eyes, the squirrel on the ground will perform back flips. I am guessing this is one way to get the other squirrels attention and to announce that it is time for merrymaking.
Though the book I’ve been reading is interesting, informative and insightful, I’ve set it aside for now. I am too distracted by the natural humor taking place in nature.
Why bother watching the squirrels? Watching them reminds me that a little playtime is a good time for anyone willing to partake. Just remember to keep a safe distance, of course.