squirrels

My dogs truly completely hate these creatures.

I am beginning to feel the same, the way these fluffy-tailed rats dig up my seed beds, planters and flowers to bury… what? There are no acorns yet. Maybe they are burying the sunflower seed I put out for the songbirds. They hang upside-down munching away while the birds wait their turns in top tree branches.

Then the hounds are loosed.

Rescue dogs Lily and Lulu streak out the back door, flat out the entire 25 yards to the feeders while the squirrels nonchalantly swing down from their posts of fatness to idly climb the nearby trees. They know Lily and Lulu can’t follow them up there. No sooner are the dogs back inside than the squirrels are back at the feeders so we loop this circuit over and over until the squirrels finally give up. The birds resume their feasting until the squirrels come back again, which they always do.

Where I moved from there was a neighbor I was told a couple of blocks away who used squirrels for target practice with a BB gun. He was a lousy shot. I replaced 3 windows in the 5 years I lived there. Four, if you count the side window that was lost to a neighbor’s fireworks misfire.

The late Bob Ross, the television landscape oil painter/teacher had a rescued baby squirrel he sometimes carried in his shirt pocket on tv as he painted. He named this squirrel Peapod. Well once you name something you have claimed it for your own, which he did. Evidently this relationship was congenial. I was not a regular viewer of the program but the times I did see it when Mr. Ross spoke of this squirrel or had him on he never mentioned that it bit him, scratched him or did any other squirrelly things.

Not likely but I do hope my dogs do not ever catch one. Pretty sure husky-mix Lily would make quick work of it. Terrier-mix Lulu is more likely to want to play with it, I think, but I hope she never catches one all the same.

The other day as we wound up our nature park walk we came across an adolescent (?) squirrel lying on the path ahead of us. At first I thought perhaps he fell out of his nest as they sometimes do and was stunned. As we got closer I saw he had no head. Likely some owl or hawk got him and was too eager to begin its feast before dining properly atop a tree branch or electrical pole and dropped the remainder of him. Just as glad I saw it and retrieved it before the dogs did.

Drama of nature.

transparent

I am no physicist, nor chemist.

Now that that’s out of the way, I love that water has skin.

Picture0318171525_1.jpg

Its surface, unlike human skin, is easily penetrable. And it is transparent, usually. You can see beneath whether it is deep or if it’s shallow, whatever lurks in its depths.

Not so with people unless we decide to be transparent. Then we give from whatever it is beneath our surface. Behind the smile, is it joy or hiding something?

Water, you can tell. People you can’t always tell.

And gelatin has skin. Sort of. It’s viscous though… its skin is basically the same all the way to the bottom and sides of the bowl. And it’s transparent, but it has nothing but gelatin unless you put fruit or something in before it jelled. But if you touch it you leave an impression. And if you break the surface unlike water it stays that way.

With water you can look at the surface if it’s still, undisturbed and see your reflection, but not yourself. Sometimes with a person you can see your reflection in their eyes, and sometimes see yourself as well. You touch the surface of water and your hand comes away with part of its molecular structure. You touch a person, maybe a few cells get stuck but only if the connection is in a heart or in a mind in understanding, empathy you have a part of who they really are. And they you. Like with gelatin. An impression is made. Sometimes we may not like what we see. Sometimes we may misunderstand what we see. People change. Their thoughts, their hearts, their hopes.

And life changes people.

It’s just something you know

Sometimes.

Picture0318171524_1.jpg

 

vignettes

Colder, wetter weather is said to be coming this way soon so this morning, though much cooler, I bundled rescue dogs Lily, Lulu and myself into the car around 6:15. It usually takes 10-15 minutes to drive the 7-8 miles to the beach but this morning there was no traffic and the lights were with us so we arrived a few minutes before the sun broke over the horizon.

There were the usual ragged groupings of peopleРcollege students standing rigid with arms deep in their jacket pockets stamping against the cold impatient for the sun to appear, 2 or 3 people huddled under blankets or beach towels on benches and scattered across the beach and a few others.

Just as the sun sparkled over the water I heard a tiny >shriek!< to my left. Pretty sure it was someone excited the sun appeared and now they could go get someplace warm I looked over to see a young man down on one knee, holding a small glittering box in his hands and a young girl in front of him (the one who shrieked) now beginning to sob. I felt a bit embarrassed witnessing such a private moment until I saw a lady not far videoing it with her phone. A friend, capturing the moment for posterity (or youtube).

We walked on a ways. A young man with an elderly dog at his feet. The person, taking pictures of the sunrise and completely ignoring his faithful friend below. The dog took no notice of my lovely two and almost with a visible sigh walked back a few paces, picked up his ball-throwing toy and dropped it at his person’s feet. Waiting patiently.

We moved on. The tide had just turned so a few rogue waves were still pushing their way up over the tide mark, making their impression before the full moon caused them to relinquish the surge. Enough though to wet our feet and cause us to dance up onto drier sand.

A few joggers, one or two braving the morning chill from the island hotels. As the days move on more and more return.

After about a half hour or so of walking, Lily, characteristic of her willful self, reached up and grabbed the leash from my hand with her teeth as if to say, “Ok, I’ve got this, let’s go!” and bounced the other way back toward the car.

The happy couple had disappeared, as had the college students and other odd groupings. A few more runners, a shell seeker or two.

A very special morning had broken.

Picture0311171424_1.jpg

 

perseverance

When I was much younger I was easily discouraged. I guess like many baby boomer children so much came so easily. Our parents for the most part had not only seen a World War but likely had grown up during the Great Depression and wanted to protect their own kids from so much deprivation. Not so much my parents. They knew what it meant to appreciate anything, to repair things or as the New England saying goes: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Even if this lavishing of everything was not what my brother and I experienced, knowing my friends got everything they wanted and then some must have affected me then to some degree, unfortunately. I remember the girl in 5th grade with a pair of sneakers to match every dress or pair of pants she wore. Honestly, some of those colors? Her mom must’ve dyed them. Those colors just are not mass-produced. Or the friends who had so many dolls or toys leaving them out in the rain to be ruined meant nothing to them. I guess I was jealous.

My dad used to complain when I was in high school and dodged another of his pesky challenges that I would just pack my lance over my shoulder and go home.

Wish he were here now.

Funny how we grow up and suddenly everything our parents tried to teach us makes sense. Earlier this week rescue dogs Lily, Lulu and I took an early morning walk on the beach. This being March the winds raged and sand blew everywhere. Poor Lulu is a Jack Parson/Boston terrier mix so being close to the ground she likely swallowed more than a few grains of sand. But I noticed the ocean

Picture0302172027_1.jpg

The wind was blowing from the west, sending showers of spray back off the crests of every wave, yet the wave persisted forward. Nothing stopped the waves from crashing to shore, no matter how hard the winds blew. There was enough force to propel the wave on its course. Somehow with people sometimes, whether by ingratitude, satiety, or indifference that impetus fails. The wind blows and someone just sits back down. Whatever captured their sense of purpose has met resistance and they stop.

Passion should never fail. Nothing short of reasonable legal, moral and ethical bounds should prevent a heart from driving onward to its vision. I realize many people– my brother is one (doctor), my son another (graphic design) –know early what they love to do and want it badly enough to stop for nothing in their pursuit of it. There needs to be so much more of this. I also realize technology is now such an enormous aspect of life, yet we still need thinking, reasoning people, with hearts of discipline and compassion to continue building for good.

So maybe we all don’t know what to be when we grow up but there is always hope. For any and all of us.

Picture0303170828_1.jpg