Springtime

 I feed the squirrels, whenever I feed the birds, and the deer, and the rabbits, and chipmunks and whatever else eats seeds. At feeding time, I go outside with my sunflower mix. I give a particular whistle, and I hear skittering in the trees. I’ve done this for years. The creatures bury stuff all over our yard. And judging by what has just sprouted, somebody has brought us an allium. So well done, beasties.

If you’ve kept an eye on such things, you know the squirrels have decided that now is the time for them to make more of themselves. In my back yard, I’ve watched a male squirrel stumble behind a female at such a relentless proximity that I could almost hear him saying, “Come on, baby. You’re killing me!” In all honestly, it’s not my favorite thing to see.

Now in my front yard, I have an Adirondack chair. I sit out there and read. The squirrels don’t know what to do with this—their Food Monster in Repose. They sniff my chair. They stare at me, singly or in pairs, from the front stoop. I have wondered, I admit, how many of them it would take to carry me off. And then yesterday, there came along Mister Come On, after his honey. And then behind *him* was Mister—I don’t know—Mister Come Back. Somebody touched the other. The three of them tore off into the hostas. They rippled through them, came out the other side, and passed under my chair. The trouble is that this isn’t some kind of folding chair with lots of space underneath. There’s maybe six inches between its bottom and the ground. And when three het up squirrels race through that kind of opening, while you’re sitting right on top of it, then you, well you get goosed by a little squirrel choo-choo. 

Everything went fine. They tore up a tree, in that little spiral they make. I’ll read in the chair again today. And I’ll wonder if there will come a time when that female squirrel will finally jump into my lap. Chipmunks have done that sort of thing from time to time; it isn’t unheard of. And really, I wouldn’t mind. I’d feed her some cashews and give her some water. And if I knew it, I’d teach her some serious kung fu.

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