Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Squirreling around the House with Amish of the Sciurus Sect

The squirrels living above my headboard on the other side of the glass were restless last night, their home blown asunder by Mother Nature's strong winds. They'd worked their furry tails to the bone last year building a leaf-based shelter on the ledge off my bedroom, using the air conditioner I'd never bothered to remove from the window as a lean-to. A newlywed couple made their home there and have since brought two kids into the fold: your classic all-American nuclear family.

At first, these fuzzy beasts annoyed me but all my attempts at trashing their little home went for naught as they calmly rebuilt the thing each time in a matter of hours. I thought of calling pest control but in the end didn't have the heart. Or was it that I'm just an incurable procrastinator? Either way, I've grown used to sharing my nights with this crew (they live literally less than two feet from where I lay my head on the pillow each evening). Generally, they're pretty quiet. When the "kids" arrived into the world and the noise picked up, I'd just tap on the window and they'd usually pipe down pretty quickly. So we'd reached an agreement of sorts and they stayed put. Through rain, sleet and snow, resolute and steadfast. Until last night.

Last night the wind gusts reached epic proportions, blowing the squirrel home's load-bearing leaves to kingdom come. Now, as I mentioned, I'd done similar damage to their hovel back when they first moved in, but that was in the early autumn when replacement leaves were plentiful. It's the barren dead of winter now and the Squirrel Home Depots are closed for the season. What's a Tamiasciurus to do?

Ahh, they're tenacious fuckers - they'll make do. They've got a whole community of scurrying, scampering fellow travelers. They're a bit like the Amish in that regard and I wouldn't be surprised to see a squirrel "barn-raising" taking shape to replenish the requisite leaves in due time.

In fact, in the time it's taken me to write up this post (admittedly, a word every now and then over the course of more than 12 hours), I see that the home is already half repaired, with five or six neighboring squirrels helping to scavenge leaves from various adjoining yards. I'm surprised the female squirrels aren't there with lemonade and refreshments, because it's otherwise eerily like the Witness barn-raising scene. Only furrier.

"You be careful out among them English."