The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.
EPISODE EIGHT THREE: Living In A Tree Sounds Pretty Good
I like squirrels.
There are people who will disagree with me and I’m sure they have their reasons. Those people might call them ‘Tree Rats’. Maybe they gnaw on the siding of their house or find a way into their attic and make a mess.
I get it.
But as for me? I like squirrels.
I love watching them. I love to see them jump from one tree to another on their way to do some squirrel business. Or watch them dig in the leaves in Autumn looking for those evasive acorns that will help them get through the winter.
One will chase another one away from a hidden stash or chase each other while they play. Occasionally a wild, furry fight will break out among the leaves. Then they break it off, climb up opposing trees and bark at each other.
It happens. It’s the wild life of a squirrel.
And they are pretty tough. I know we sometimes see their little carcasses litter the streets but I was driving to work one cold morning and I saw a squirrel running across a power line that stretched across the road. As I looked at the road ahead, the little guy must have slipped on some ice that hung from the line and fell right in front of me. It was a good sixteen foot fall. He bounced once and took off to the side of the street and for parts unknown.
I figured he was embarrassed.
Those furry nut stockpilers was on my mind one day after I got home from a particular crappy day at work. I came inside in a horribly low mood. I realized I needed to check the mail so I slowly grabbed the mail key to the condo mailbox and back out the door I went.
To get to the mailbox, you have to walk on a worn footpath through a small grove of trees that leads to the sidewalk next to the pool and that one leads to the mailbox. It was in January so the trees were bare. It went well with the overcast day because it matched my mood.
I was lost in my own thoughts about the day when I heard a squirrel from a limb above me barking. The sound broke my mental paralysis. I stopped and looked up at the critic. He looked me in the eye and barked three times. His little teeth shone white, even on the grey, cold day.
I had to smile. I couldn’t help it. I could only imagine what he was yelling at me.
“Get out of here, human!”
“Got any food?”
“Cheer up. You’re better than your problems.”
Maybe it was the squirrel philosophy that I imagined he or she was throwing at me but I got to thinking about what it would be like to be a squirrel.
I think I would like it.
Sure. It’s not all nests full of acorns and playing with your buddies. It can be a hard life. There are dogs, owls, hawks, cars and other predators that will ruin your day. Not to mention if you don’t get enough food to last you through the winter, the possibility of starving to death is highly probable.
But let’s say you don’t have to worry about that. Let’s say you know what you know now and you have access to plenty of food. Predators pay you no mind and you never have to cross the road. Let’s pretend your squirrel life is perfect.
You have a tree nest high up in the tip-top of a large oak tree. You have plenty of stored acorns here and there and plenty up in the nest. The hole of your house is never in the wind. And your friends never try and steal from you and everybody gets along.
And maybe you got a special furry friend who’s plump and soft and keeps you warm when the snow falls and you two are talking about squirrel marriage.
Maybe you find days where you just look down on your tree neighborhood, bite into a nut and think about how good life is. Everything you need is all around you. If you need to fix your house, all you have to do is climb down, gather a few twigs and sticks and do some home repair.
And at night you can sleep in your nest as the wind gently blows the tree like a lullaby.
That squirrel life would be amazing.
I thought about all of that as I walked back to the house with the mail in my hand.
I know that a perfect squirrel life is probably impossible but it put me in a better mood when I got back inside.
It’s a nice fantasy. Kind of like a Disney fantasy where the animals all get along and have their own little societies. Maybe like Frog and Toad or The Wind in the Willows or Watership Down or Charlotte’s Web……..except with squirrels.
(Maybe not Watership Down. I’m going to redact that.)
A nice fantasy to help keep away the crappy day blues. I’ll think about it tomorrow when those blues start to creep in again. I’ll dream about my nest at the top of that oak tree and think about that breeze that will lull my squirrel head to sleep.
Now that I think about it, maybe the squirrel that looked at me, right in my eyes, and barked at me three times was asking, ‘You wanna switch?’
Don’t tempt me fuzzy britches.
Don’t tempt me…
September 22nd, 2017
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.