The Distance Between Us

Things grow back. The squirrels reminded me of that yesterday as I watched them scamper in the three sugar maples standing sentry in my front yard. Two springs ago I had the maples trimmed as part of an ongoing effort to save my front yard from erosion (living at the bottom of a hill, turns out y really does equal mx+b). But the soft thumps yesterday as I read in the front room signaled that the maple branches again reached close enough to my roof for the squirrels to use my roof as a transit hub. (Either that or the squirrels were throwing nuts on my roof, taunting me in my quarantine. If this is true, squirrels, and you are reading this now: YOU DON’T WANT THIS SMOKE! I have a scary amount of unstructured time and epic levels of stress.)

Observation shows the following pattern: squirrels shift among the three maples freely (a word to the original planters of said maples: “Canopy” is a lovely word and a lovely concept, but I refer you to the first two words of this post); squirrels occasionally fling themselves from the center maple onto the edge of the roof (at which point I lose sight of them but I imagine the squirrels do some sort of Fortnite celebratory dance, or perhaps the bunny hug to honor the elderly trees); squirrels shimmy up the peaked roof like soldiers seeking high ground. I mean, the trees were technically even higher ground, but squirrels are, historically, poor military tacticians.

This lack of tactical acumen quickly evidences itself as the squirrels cede the higher ground and scramble down the other side of the roof, pausing above my bedroom to further taunt me unseen, no doubt making rude gestures (I am far too mature to stoop to mentioning squirrels and nuts here). From this point, the squirrels can, and do, tightwire across the edge of the porch fence to reach the pergola, from which they can jump into the branches of my backyard trees, where more shenaniganizing occurs.

{I know what you are thinking at this point: You have a pergola AND a fence? What kind of libertine are you?}

These shenanigans are in service of a supply chain allowing the squirrels to transport themselves and their cargo from the backyard trees to the trees in my front yard without touching the ground. 

These squirrels are creative in not letting distance defeat them—we can be too.

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