Feb 8, 2008

On Squirrels, Frozen Crabapples, and Inner Peace

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Fox squirrel eating a crabapple

Though I am occasionally miffed at the raids on my bird feeders perpetrated by the squirels that reside near my home, I confess that I find their rodential antics to be a source of entertainment. This morning a squirel briefly diverted me from my work with its efforts to harvest some frozen crabapples from a tree outside my window.

My dogs alerted me to the squirrel's presence, perched as it was some ten feet above their yapping heads. After herding the pack back into the house, I sat by the window and watched the squirrel engage in a series of dexterous moves in its pursuit of food.

Admitedly, there is nothing extraordinary about the ubiquitous urbanized squirrel, and I have yet to live in a city that does not boast a healthy population of these hardy scavengers. Yet I find the activity of squirrel-watching to be a unique form of relaxation that offers the participant an opportunity to put aside the stresses of the moment in favor of improving one's peace of mind.

My dogs, of course, completely disagree with this assessment, as they recognize the lowly squirrel as a four-legged foe, hell-bent on acts of terror against canines. My Puggle, a rambunctious fellow named Eddie Haskell, stalks squirrels much in the manner of a savannah lion, slowly creeping through the grass before a final mad sprint to the nearest tree. He has not yet scored a victory in his dedicated efforts at squirrel-catching, but he seems to enjoy the pastime.

As do I.

1 comment:

microdot said...

Mike your post brought back 2 late winter memories...
One, my fathers strange sense of humor...he would feed squirrels peanut butter on crackers so he could watch them get their mouths stuck from the peanut butter, I never quite understood what he found so funny about it, but he got hours of amuusement from it on wintry Sunday mornings.
The other memory was a the huge Mountain Ash tree in our yard. It was a very beautiful tree, a tall cylindrical tapered form. In the spring it was covered with clusters of white flowers that lost their petals and covered the yard with "snow". The flowere clusters would turn to bright orange red berries that stayed on the tree all winter.
They seemed to be the last thing the birds would go for each season.
The alternate cycles of freezing and thawing created a concentration of alcohol in the berries. It probably made them sweeter as well.
So, the result was around mid February we would have gangs of unruly Jays and nasty Cardinals falling out of the tree and trying to fly inot the neighbors garage wall. The jays got really nasty and tried to pick fights with the squirrels...