Squirrel!!

Happy what’s-left-of-Friday Travellers,

How about a little humorous anecdote from my current life…

For the past couple of weeks, I have been engaged in a sort of battle of wills between myself and the squirrel(s). Each morning or afternoon, I go out to my garden only to find that the squirrel has been here doing very bad squirrel things….

Specifically digging, destroying and chewing. Almost like a tiny little dog.

Only not.

It’s almost like nature is offending me. It is discouraging me. The universe is discouraging me. On a very personal level.

And if I’m honest, somehow my feelings are hurt.

Do you know what I mean? Of course you do. All humans think these silly things from time to time. Everyone thinks the universe is somehow targeting them for good or bad reasons.

Allow me to assure us, it is not.

The universe does not have time to single us out one by one.

For the record, my neighborhood is full of giant oak trees. I have four them around my home. It’s one of things I truly love about living here. And I mean LOVE. I remember as a kid always feeling like neighborhoods with lots of trees were somewhere where normal families lived. They represented a life I didn’t have, which admittedly is a strange correlation to make, but that’s what kids do.

And now I live there. In the place with all the giant trees. And with these trees comes squirrels. To me they are my tiny little neighbors that race through the canopies with a sort of finesse and speed that I envy as an athlete. They talk to each other, sometimes quarrel and build huge nests. The trees are their homes and I’ve always found their company sort of delightful in a weird way.

UNTIL NOW…

Let it be said, I’ve not experienced the darker side of squirrels. My fellow home owning friends tend to not like them because they can be destructive. That’s what they have said.

I think it’s been about five years that I’ve been growing a garden and maybe there have been some isolated incidents that I foolishly blamed on birds, but now there is a little fucker in my midst…and I want to kill it.

Okay, see that right there, I’m not a killer and in truth, that is not what I want. That is not who I am as a human.

I mean IT IS, but it’s also not…do you know what I mean??

I wouldn’t in truth want to kill some other squirrel’s parent/spouse/child. The image of a sad squirrel just makes me sad. VERY SAD.

Here’s the real problem, the total honesty of it. My little garden is my joy. I cannot express to you how grounding it is to work in it each day. And joy-filled. I don’t know if all humans feel this way, but I do. I very much do, which is why I write about it with some frequency.

Also, this little patch of green makes me feel like I’m a nurturing person. Which in lieu of the events of the past two years of my life is reassuring. Since I always blame myself for things going wrong, whether it’s my fault or not, I also have learned it’s good to find things to blame yourself for that are positive.

Blame yourself for the positive things in your life. There’s a skill to learn.

This stupid little squirrel is literally chewing and digging up my joy. He is destroying my strawberries that are trying so hard to grow and eating their flowers which means NO BERRIES. And don’t even get me started on what happened to my young spinach. TWICE! Somehow THIS was the morning where I yelled out to the backyard, I HAVE HAD IT!!

(Because I know the squirrels are listening..)

(And I want the rain to stop!)

(Did I mention the never ending rain? The flooding? The rain that has caused my blueberry bush to look fully intoxicated. Like it had a really rough night out.)

I know the digging is their attempt at excavating nuts, which are not actually there. The only good thing about the rain is that it has slowed down their search and rescue efforts. As smart as squirrels are, you would think they would have a map. Or whatever the equivalent is to a squirrel. Or an engineer amongst their colony that sorts out that kind of thing.

I once watched a squirrel bury a nut near these flowers we had elsewhere in the backyard. And then he took a step back, sat up on his hind quarters and arranged the fauna like he was a florist or something. He moved his little hands with such precision and delicacy you would have thought someone was getting married back there.

WHERE IS THAT SQUIRREL? Because he wouldn’t be doing this…

Why is the universe doing this to me??? That was my actual thought. I thought that thought as I stood there in front of my massacred garden. I thought that thought last night as my basement began to flood.

And let’s be clear, I’m very well aware that parts of America are flooding right now, so I’m extremely fortunate. I am, so allow me to acknowledge that before I continue this rant.

Why must things like this happen? I know it’s really miniscule, but for me, it represents my greater struggle. The struggle to find my life in the rubble of my divorce, Dave’s suicide, my arm that’s moving at the speed of maple syrup to fully heal and all my fears about attempting to try to build a business for myself.

It is the struggle to grow something new, to care for it, to cultivate joy and resilience. The garden, my home, my life. And to protect it.

The squirrel is just doing what squirrels do being a little destructive menace. Ok, not all squirrels obviously, just this one or two, I haven’t figured out if it’s a tag team or one little fucker doing this on it’s own. I assume he/she is new to my neighborhood. I know it’s not personal because it rarely is. What happens to us in life is RARELY PERSONAL. And I also acknowledge the squirrel is not a messenger from the greater universe saying, “Just give up Amy” but damn it sometimes feels that way.

In truth, I like to think the universe is rooting for all of us, against all odds. I like to think humans are the greatest wager eve made in all of creation.

But there are still squirrels.

(These are LAST summer’s berries…)

2 thoughts on “Squirrel!!

  1. Dick Bixler

    I enjoyed your “rant” about squirrels, but here is another side to the story. As a kid I lived on a farm (as you know) during the final years of the depression. Additionally WW!! was raging and rationing was in place. One day my mother asked my dad about dinner that evening. He said he would see what he could do. So he took me with him (and his rifle) into the trees on our farm. He scanned the trees until he located a squirrel and told me to walk around the base of the tree. As I did that the squirrel moved from the back of the tree to the front, where my dad was. That night we had squirrel for dinner! We provided meat as a supplement to our diet when we could!

    Like

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