We do not have tickets to the World Series. At this late date, all the baseball uniforms of every team are at the cleaners. So who is running bases on my roof?
It is that time of year again, the Squirrel World Series. Day barely breaks before they are playing with acorns as big as crabapples. And they can’t catch! If I sneak out on the deck, I can hear the fans singing “Take Me Out to the Taylor Tree,” smell the popacorn and hear little bitty cans of Nut Beer popping open, all before 7 a.m.!
Drop Day is a big deal at my house. We have oak and hickory trees circling the house. But this year we are experiencing Drop Week. The acorns are so big everyone knows someone who has either been hit in the head or broken a bone falling over an acrimonious nut. The dog has had his legs crossed for days.
What is the purpose of the squirrel? Maybe their purpose is to drive the meek mad. Friend or foe, ask a person not what they hate or love, but what drives them crazy. A whole industry has developed to thwart the endeavors of these birdseed thieves. My father had a little chair for the squirrel to sit on and eat corn, thinking it would distract the cute rodent. They just got fatter.
They keep their teeth sharp by chiseling deck rails. We have especially talented squirrels that leaned out over the roof edge, devouring a shoebox size piece of soffit. We covered the opening with mesh wire stuffed with steel wool pads, about the only thing they can’t get their teeth into!
The antics of the squirrel are so amusing we forget they are just rodents in the tree of life. Recently, we watched a squirrel climb into the BBQ grill. He thought he had found Khubla Khan, but his twitchy tail still hung out the back. Later, we looked in the grill and found a half-eaten acorn. I left two fat ones as a gift.
Do you know why you never see a squirrel kid? They can’t run with nuts in their mouth and aren’t long or fast enough to keep up with Mama. What makes a squirrel change direction in the middle of the street? Count the times you’ve zigged for his zag. Come to think of it, have you ever seen a squirrel lying dead with a broken neck? No. A Secret Squirrel Society gathers up the missed leapers to perpetuate the myth of the flying squirrel.
Despite the negative, there are good things about Mr./Mrs. Squirrel. They are thorough and tireless when building a nest high in the treetops. Think of the courage required to jump out a distance five times your length or the confidence required to zip along branches and electrical wires. Despite my frustration with them, I am drawn to their secret treetop world, only imagining the thrill of flying through the air and maneuvering their hickory mazes and oak bowers.