A squirrel missive

Dear President Biden,

Congratulations on the (still theoretical) bipartisan agreement on the hard infrastructure package. Hopefully Mitch McConnell won’t find a way to torpedo it and hopefully all of the Democrats will hold together to support it. I know there’s a lot more sausage making that’s going to happen on this agreement as well as on the other (critically important) one that you all are hoping to pass by reconciliation, but this seems like a really good start, so well done!

Closer to home we’re bracing for several days of horribly hot weather so I made a point of going for a longer than usual walk early this morning. I checked in on the Shasta daisies along the West side of the power sub-station a few blocks away and while a lot more of them are blooming now than the last time I went by there, it’s still the case that those getting more direct sunlight at the top of the roads that “t” into the sub-station block are way out ahead of their more shaded sibs. So far there’s no evidence that the sun-drenched daisies are about to go kaput, but I won’t be surprised if they suffer as the temperatures catapults over 100.

And really, although it isn’t good that the Shasta daisies and all Seattlites will have a tough time in the heat, the situation in Florida with the section of that high-rise condo building collapsing is beyond horrifying. It’s so sad for the people who were living there and likely died there and honestly, what the hell does it mean for all the other beachfront buildings in that state and around the world? What more is it going to take for us to accept that we’ve got to make drastic changes in how we live on this planet or we’ll be collectively screwed? And not just a few of us – all of us.

Because I’m too on edge about all of this, I’m going to close with a benign nature observation, this time involving a squirrel. Once again I was brushing my teeth, looking out the front window when I spied a squirrel doing some very cute frolicking in our next-door neighbor’s yard. Squirrel was running back and forth across their yard like it was doing intervals and then it suddenly stopped and furiously dug around under some clover right up next to the fence dividing our yards. After a minute or so of diligent digging it found what it was looking for and sat back on its haunches and turned the thing over and over in its little paws before popping it into its mouth. It looked like it was probably an acorn or some similarly sized nut, but whatever it was, it came in and out of Squirrel’s mouth several times, each time getting a little whiter and a little smaller, like there was some oral nut peeling somehow happening in there. Then the nut was gone and I thought that was the end of the show.

However, Squirrel wasn’t done. After some more cavorting, Squirrel went back to the clover spot, did some more digging, and then popped up with yet another nut. This time Squirrel slipped through the fence wire (baling wire) and crossed over into our yard where the same reverent nut-gazing took place followed by the in and out of the mouth routine, culminating in the nut disappearing into Squirrels’ tummy.

It was pretty wonderful, but I was relieved when Squirrel took off around the corner of the neighbor’s house since the toothbrush had long turned itself off and I really needed to spit.

The reason I decided to share this sighting with you is that I’ve never before gotten to see a squirrel retrieve its cache. Plus, the funny little sequence of behaviors was pretty wonderful and I figured you might like to hear about it since you probably don’t get much in your inbox that’s very lighthearted. So there you go – a squirrel missive to distract you for a few minutes.

May we be safe.
May we be willing to pause and watch the squirrels.
May we gather up the collective will to deal with reality.
May we accept that we need to stop trashing the planet. N

Tracy Simpson

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