The pistol shots began about 730 on Sunday morning: BANG! BANGBANGBANG! BANG! BANGBANG!
I don’t live in that kind of neighborhood, so I got up and wandered into the living room. The sun was still low and hung up in the foliage east of the house. But it had broken through in one spot and cast a fiery orange glow on the living room wall. It was so bright that I thought I’d left a light on in the kitchen.
I stepped into the morning cool on the front porch and confirmed that those weren’t pistol shots at all. It was squirrels.
Tattooing the Tin
There were at least three of them high in a hickory tree next to the house, tails thrashing violently as they cut nuts loose and let them fall, presumably to be collected later. Most of them were tattooing my tin roof and either bouncing off or sliding down the roof like loose gravel.
But I didn’t mind. Unlike the moron on the next block who had fired up his leaf blower and everyone else be damned, I admired the squirrels.
Within a half-hour of daybreak, they’d begun the day’s work – in this case, harvesting for the cold months ahead – presumably without any of the angst that attends humans at work.
In fact, they are so uncomplicated and childlike that they stopped in the middle of their labor to engage in a madcap game of tag.
A Dull Lad
They raced up and down the pin oak in the front yard, ripping through the ivy-entwined trunk at full speed, then scrambled out on slender branches and made outrageous leaps into the waiting embrace of a dogwood across the driveway.
I watched from a bentwood rocker on the porch and wondered what my life would look like if I could toggle that easily between work and play.
Considering that I am by habit and family legacy far too serious, and that I am in truth and in fact a dull lad these days, I’d say I’ve got a lot to learn from the squirrels.
Something to the effect that, yes, work is important, but so is play. Neglect it at the peril of suffering your own company.