We have Squirrels

Squirrels, karen schulz

We have squirrels. A lot of squirrels. Ground squirrels and tree squirrels, both.

Tree squirrels are fun to watch as they quickly and gracefully jump from branch to branch. Ground squirrels, on the other hand, amaze me with how fast they can run and how quickly they can stop, as if they were following an unseen command.

Even though I’m well aware of the problems that squirrels might cause, like destroying the yard and stealing food from birds, the way our yard is now (a haven of wild beauty shall I say?) I can just watch them without having to worry about controlling the population or trying to get rid of them altogether.

I have a big plastic box of sunflower seeds outside my office door. Every day I feed the birds with those seeds. Yesterday the box fell over, the lid fell off, and about 10 pounds of sunflower seeds spilled all over the concrete patio. I was able to scoop up the majority of the seeds and put them back in their box. The stragglers were just swept up into a pile, picked up, and tossed outside my office window.

Soon a single squirrel run over to the pile of leftover seeds. As I  peeked out my window, I saw him sitting there in the sunshine, eating one seed at a time, enjoying his treat.  I must have watched him for at least 5 minutes.  Although they can be pests, squirrels are really quite cute when they pick up a seed, sit on their hind legs, and hold their food in their little claws while they munch away.

It wasn’t long though before a second squirrel ran over to the seed pile, and the first squirrel changed his posture. He sank low to the ground and started gathering as many seeds as he could. His cheeks grew bigger and bigger. It took me a few seconds to realize that he was storing the seeds in his cheeks rather than enjoying them right away. When I thought his cheeks surely must be near bursting capacity, he scurried away and up a tree, to store his seeds for later.

The second squirrel didn’t seem to be as concerned about the future, apparently, as he continued eating, now in peace.

I’m sure there is some great principle to be learned here. Perhaps about saving for a rainy day, or maybe about living in the moment. But I wasn’t philosophical that day; I was just amazed at watching the wonder of nature unfold before my eyes, and being reminded of how beautiful life’s small details are.

Squirrels, karen schulz
Photo courtesy of Pexles.com I just wasn’t fast enough to get a picture!


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