Territory | Dispatches from an Irate Squirrel
Leonard Shlain claims that we didn’t need language until farmers began to fight for territory.
I think those farmers must have sounded like the angry ma ma squirrel telling me off in gutteral sounds that sort of sounded like (“If you do that, I’m goinna hurt ya–real bad”). I just needed to cut down a dangling branch from the night’s storm; you’d think I was stealing one of her babies the way she was cackling and yelling at me at the top of her little squirrel lungs.
Anyway, I’m no good at this sort of thing. But the 75 mile per hour record winds the night before that had me whimpering in the closet near the bunny room, had torn down many good branches from the native trees in my backyard. When I came out the next morning, yard looked like a scene in ‘What Dreams May Come’ where the tree in the painting was crying, melting and all but becoming a river of sadness.
I had to cut down some of the large branches that sagged into the hot tub and yard. As I did so, the squirrel family I have been observing and I thought befriending for many months went nuts. No pun intended.
Ma Ma squirrel ran back and forth, yelling at me. At one point she gathered all her kids as I sawed away. I looked up and 2 feet above me was her angry face and right behind her– the squirrel mafia. A very mean and focused looking bunch.
“Listen” I said firmly, I feed you Macademia nuts from Whole Foods. When you tore up the deck furniture, what did I do? I forfeited the cushions to your winter baby fest. I feed you, I donate bedding, I even give you water at times. You can go without one or two branch, its going to die anyway.” She just keep staring at me, meanly. She was going to jump me I could feel it.
I thought about the news. The squirrel in Denver with the plague. “Excuse me” I said to her. I went into the garage and put on my welding goggles and long gloves. She was still there when I came back. For her this was war.
“Look, this is going to happen whether you like it or not.” I looked around to see if any of the neighbors saw me on my bar stool in sequin, green thongs (vs. the usual Crocs), wearing my robe still and talking to…well, it would seem to them like…talking to myself to them, I’m sure.
I cut it down.
I put out some cashews and almonds for them–a little extra for their stress and felt no guilt.
I mean, really! Does Dakota know that not all boy bunnies have their own room or a girlfriend he really didn’t have to work that hard for? Does this Ma Ma squirrel know that I make mothering easier for her by providing bedding and nuts so that her little ones (and I’ve seen this in action) aren’t constantly pulling on her dried up motherhood? No.
Dakota still chases Caila away when I walk into the room because he wants to own both of us. Not content with just one. And Ma Ma squirrel still wants every branch in that damn tree because this is her queen-dom. And she still yells at me when I don’t put the nuts in the right place — this is new behavior, but what’s next?
Luckily I have my own territory to escape to from all animal demands.
My converted garage into art studio and dance floor. AHHHHH…what a joy. i-Tunes, chinese lanterns, even an old, comfy couch and warming weather that makes the temperatures perfect. But the escape wouldn’t feel as good if I didn’t have screaming squirrels, plants that need daily attention and a rabbit that thinks he’s my husband.
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