Sunday, April 18, 2010

April 18: Hidden Treasure

Most of today was spent sitting at my desk writing, but much of that "writing" time has consisted of looking out the window at my back yard and the river. Not much going on back here. A neighbor's cat meandered through. A fisherman walked along the riverbank, casting a few times without much conviction into the slow-moving water. Some blue jays hung out for a while, yelling from the maple tree. A couple of mallards flew upriver. And one or more squirrels made several passes through the yard, apparently searching for the buried treasure of last year's acorns. He, she or they make little pits in the lawn in this occasionally fruitful quest.

When I undertook my back-breaking Day of Raking Hell last month, I uncovered a lot of acorns under the dead leaves. Today the squirrels were taking full advantage of the acorn-studded lawn, criss-crossing here and there, stopping to sniff each leaf and lump. There are a lot of squirrels in my back yard--I've counted three pairs at one time, and almost always see at least one when I look--but I've never stopped to think about what they're living on. We don't have bird feeders (thanks to the squirrels), and other than a couple of oaks worth of acorns, there's not a lot else that seems edible this time of year. Once in a while I'll set an overripe tomato or squash on an old stump near the shed and am later gratified to find shreds of evidence to indicate the meal was enjoyed. There must be other things in the neighborhood they're finding to nosh on, because they're clearly thriving.

Just now, one has looped its way over the grass, tail a graceful, dipping plume. Another has just hopped up on the stump, holding something to its mouth. Now it's hopping up the path to the back porch. Coming to borrow a cup of sugar?

Fall's stashing, caching,
has yielded this: old acorns
unearthed like treasure.

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