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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Squirrel's - by Bruce

In the photo above if you look closely you can see a squirrel in the tree. It is just an ordinary Aspen tree but for two years it has been this squirrel's play ground. To this squirrel it is not an ordinary Aspen tree. Why this tree? I guess I would have to talk squirrelese to find out. This squirrel has chosen this particular tree to play in. He will do circles around the limb, run from one side of the tree to the other, sit where he is now for the longest time watching perhaps be the sunset. We can observe him/her from our living room window and for two years in the evening he/she will faithfully come to this tree to play - sometimes early morning and sometimes at dusk.

Seeing him have fun in this tree reminds me of another squirrel we encountered at Torreya State Park in Florida. We liked to camp there because it was so quiet and was along the Apalachicola River. The Torreya tree is the rarest coniferous tree in the world. It is only in four other area's; China, Japan, Florida and California. One day we were laying in our hammocks reading books under these very large pine trees and we kept hearing a thump but couldn't tell what was causing it. Florida has a grape that comes from the muscadine family called the Scuppernong Grape. These grape vines had grown up the trees and ran across the tops of them about 50-60' high. The more the thump the more my curiosity was peaked. I put the book down and waited and sure enough it happened again. All I could see was a squirrel on the ground, and after a few minutes he would scramble up, climb the tree, and eat those scuppernong grapes. As I watched him he would teeter a little and then just simply fall off the limb and 'thump' hit the thick pine needle cushion on the ground with a loud thump. This was repeated over and over and it occurred that those scuppernong grapes had fermented on the vine and he was getting drunk on them, falling off the limb and hitting the ground with a thump. Talk about a residual hangover, this little guy must have had a good one. And that is the story of our drunken squirrel.

Squirrels can be a pest sometimes but if you take the time to stop and watch them and their antics they just might entertain you with a good belly laugh. Of course you have to take the time to watch and observe, but if you do the rewards are worth it. Living here in the mountains we have plenty of time to do just that.

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