Spring ahead

Yesterday I watched a gray squirrel out the kitchen window of my parents’ house as it excavated a black walnut. After retrieving its prize, which had been buried at a depth of about ten inches, the squirrel sat back on its haunches and scraped all the dirt off it with its incisors, turning it rapidly around and around in its mouth. Then gripping the walnut firmly in its teeth, it trotted about three feet, dug another hole, and reburied it.

The whole thing happened so quickly, I’m not sure I registered all the relevant details. Had there been, perhaps, a nascent sprout on the walnut that needed to be removed along with the dirt in order to keep it viable as food? Had the squirrel seen or heard something that caused it to change its mind about making the hundred-foot dash back to the woods with the walnut?

Or, given that squirrels retrieve nuts based on memory rather than smell, was I witnessing an act of theft? Had this squirrel witnessed another squirrel burying the walnut, and returned later to move it to a new spot? I don’t know. But one thing’s certain: it would’ve made a damn funny video.

Its nut reburied,
the squirrel moves quickly away
& pretends to forage.

*

Half of the turkeys
run one way & half the other.
I turn in circles.

*

On the night we have to set
the clocks ahead,
the rustle of earthworms.

*

We search the sky
for the whistling woodcock.
Nothing but the moon.

*

In the bathtub this morning,
it’s the first wolf spider
of spring!

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

11 Replies to “Spring ahead”

  1. But I also saw it as a metaphor for this weekend’s project: moving Via Negativa from one web host to another. Except that I was nowhere near as fast and efficient as that squirrel.

  2. Joan – Ha! Yes.

    matt – Thanks. Yeah, I’d much rather watch squirrels at the birdfeed than birds, for example. Much more entertaining.

    Brian – You could just tweet a shortened URL, I guess (I use http://ur1.ca – shorter than tinyurl). Glad you liked.

    BP – Me too. I caught it in a plastic cup and tossed it over the porch rail, whence it probably went right back into the flourishing ecosystem under the floor.

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