18 November 2012


Wednesday, September 27, 1995 3:53 p.m.

Every day since moving here, I have spent part of the day on our deck, staring out into the now yellowed and browned wilderness that is our backyard. I idly smoke (Chesterfield, filter-less) as the squirrels submit to their compulsion to harvest walnuts. Why are they cursed with such diligence, with the need to gnaw at and remove the green nut encasements from the branches of these trees? As autumn dies into winter, the nuts will all fall to the ground anyway, where the squirrels could make quick work of gathering them.  Instead, the rodent workaholics run the vast network of branches and labor to prematurely pluck the nuts, chew open the green outer shells, and store away the meats found within.

Maybe they know that winter sometimes comes too soon and, if they were to wait, snow might enshroud their fallen foods, leaving them to starve. Or, maybe they are already beginning to feel the siren-like pull of hibernation, tugging at their instincts, their collective unconscious, and know that they must get the work done before they can sleep. Whatever the case, it makes me restless to know that the world is hard at work while I lie in wait for the walnuts to ripen and fall in their own time.

Do squirrels even hibernate? Greedy bastards.

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