“…his thoughts revolving silently in this squirrel-cage of mystification.”
Have you ever seen a squirrel sleep? Oddly enough, I have. Early in our marriage, we lived in a small, yellow house at the edge of 300-acre wood. This put us smack in the middle of all things wild.
There were bears who stomped suet feeders flat in pursuit of the goodness inside, whole herds of deer sleeping just off the porch. There was a black snake eating the baby robins that were nearly ready to fledge from a nest perched on a grapevine wreath. There were dozens of wild turkeys one year, a population explosion made possible by a cyclical abundance of cicadas grubs.
And, there were squirrels.
One fox squirrel seemed particularly at home. On hot summer days, he would stretch his lithe self along the branch where our “bird” feeder hung and sleep. Legs, arms and tail dangling. We would watch him from the porch and giggle silently.
These days, we are city dwellers. There are no bears or black snakes in the yard, but there are still squirrels and other wee things. And, again, there’s one who would probably move right into the kitchen if we’d let him. It’s a red squirrel this time, the tiny kind with a pipe-cleaner tail, and he loves nothing more than to eat at the handy “buffet” we put out in the front yard each winter.
It’s actually landscaping of a sort — two faux clay pots festooned with white pine cones and a handful of crimson dog-bane branches. He sees only food, however. He leaps a good two feet into the air, picks a favorite cone and off he goes. Into the high branches of an oak tree, where he has built a dense nest of leaves. A creature of habit, he methodically eats the seeds, stripping the cone down to a bumpy core that he tosses onto a pile of “empties” that gather at the tree’s roots.
It’s only November, but it’s so cold he’s already at it, supplementing his rich acorn diet with the occasional pine cone. And, I am watching from the front porch, still silently giggling.