October 3, 2022
Thanks for your well-wishes after my last post. I’m happy to report that there are no lingering effects from my unprovoked fight with a window.
There is an alley here in town that makes bird sounds. When I passed it last week, I heard hundreds of house sparrows cheeping their delight at the grapevines lining the walls. As they (presumably) fed on the ripe grapes, they remained invisible, shielded by a curtain of leaves.
To us, the sparrows are a nuisance. To them, however, my snooping around was an interruption to their otherwise steady rhythm of life. What are walls for, if not to grow grapevines?
The same goes for the squirrels that occupy a large oak tree by my window. They have the run of the place. In the squirrels’ world, my patio is merely a large, flat branch. When I use the patio for its actual function, there is shock on their little faces as they scramble away.
My rodent neighbors are so omnipresent that I wouldn’t be surprised if one asked to borrow a cup of sugar. It’s cute to see them up close; it’s less cute to find pieces of walnut husk (or worse) on my patio furniture or in my drying laundry. Squirrels don’t have what we would call manners. But getting to know them on their own terms can be fun.
Living next to an oak and getting to know its squirrels is a little like moving to a small town and getting to know the human neighbors I see every day. Our paths intersect, and we all end up playing a role in one another’s worlds. This is what I hoped would happen when I first arrived here. Sharing part of my life with others – and getting to know their stories in turn – helps me live more fully in my own tree.