During the winter months in Chicagoland, my husband and I were not very happy being stuck in the condo, especially during the raging storms. The highlight of our days was “watching the squirrels.”
There were six squirrels who greeted my husband every morning at the balcony. One of them would boldly stand in front of him, as if to ask, “Stop your smoking already! Where’s my food?”
As winter gradually morphed into early spring, we noticed that the squirrels were getting thinner. I could imagine what it was like to be a squirrel surviving in the woods during these months. Me and my pampered life! During those moments, I thanked God and the Universe for my over-heated home. I stopped complaining about a miserable winter in Chicagoland every time we squirrel-watched.
“Since you keep feeding these squirrels, you might as well give them names!” I remarked. Thus, my husband decided to name the squirrels according to the personalities they displayed.
There was “Bully.” Yes, he’s the guy in the photo. He wasn’t shy so I didn’t have such a tough time taking a candid photo.
“Scruffy” had a tail that was less-than-bushy.
“Skittish” ran every time he heard us moving around inside the living room.
All right, such easy names.
During those lonely winter months, I oftentimes would stop from my work and observe these squirrels individually stake a claim on our food offerings. In other words, they would only eat one at a time. However, my husband told me that one day, he saw two of the squirrels actually push the food plate to safety (closer to the sheltered doorway) from the rain.
When spring came in full glory, the squirrels disappeared into the golf course behind our fence… Oh well, they didn’t need our food anymore.
This isn’t my first encounter with squirrels.
I met my first albino squirrel at Hershey Park, Pennsylvania, in 1989.
A few years ago, Sanny Leviste brought me with him to a park at the Peninsula (in the San Francisco Bay Area) so he could take photographs of birds and teach me a thing or two about his environmental passions, especially the Wetlands. When we were getting ready to go home, I saw a squirrel perched on top of a denuded bush. He or she had the perfect posture — and didn’t seem to have a care in the world. The squirrel was enjoying this sunny day — and he or she really looked like one, happy sun bather! Sanny took some photos and e-mailed a perfect picture to me.
I really don’t need photos to remember my encounters with squirrels.
Squirrels illustrate the simple joys of life. They symbolize the blessings Mother Nature bestows on all of us.
The best part: Squirrels remind me about the interconnected nature of the Universe.
Watch the squirrels!