Last time we met, I regaled and (hopefully) entertained y’all with stories of magnificent bald eagles soaring through our East Texas skies.
This week, we move a little farther down the food chain.
I give you, the lowly squirrel. Now, according to my Yankee husband, the squirrels we watch every morning are grey squirrels. However, they’re not grey, they’re brown, and far smaller than the New York counterparts he also calls grey squirrels. After doing a little research, I’ve decided I’m just going to call the subject of this story, “squirrel,” a generic term I’m sure some East Texas hunter can correct for me.
Let me first state, I don’t like rodents. I don’t mind spiders or snakes at all, and am the designated spider killer in the house. My husband runs and screams like a girl when he sees a spider. That’s me with mice and rats.
Every morning, I enjoy watching the squirrels’ antics from my porch as I sip my coffee and wake up. They search for, gnaw and bury random acorns. They chase each other up the oak, across the roof, down the cedar, then across the bottom steps of my porch. These games go on all morning. It’s very entertaining.
I’ve read that squirrels don’t remember where they bury their nuts. But, we have one smart squirrel that follows the acorn planters, and digs up the buried nuts getting a free breakfast without the work. They have favorite perches in each tree. When our neighborhood Cooper’s hawk sails through, hoping for a tasty breakfast, the squirrels turn into flat tree decorations. While flat, one can see the reason for their coloring. They truly disappear into the bark of their selected tree.
I’ve enjoyed a pleasant relationship with squirrels for over 50 years now. There’s been no animosity between us. They are such cute little furry tailed rats, it’s hard not to like them. But, I have my suspicions now perhaps the squirrels have ulterior motives. Could it be that these small furry critters are planning mayhem for the human world?
I’ll let you decide after you read my story.
A few weeks back, it was a delightfully sunny morning, with a clear blue sky, and not a hint of breeze. I was enjoying the early spring warmth when suddenly there was a tremendous BOOM! The whole porch shook!
Muttering expletives, I ran to see what happened.
My neighbors had a dead tree between our houses, and it literally laid down on my house. It woke up our neighbors, but my daughter slept through the whole thing, despite it falling on top of her room. Thank God, nobody was hurt, the roof wasn’t damaged, and my landlord got the tree removed very quickly.
Just before the BOOM, my neighbor’s kitty was chasing one of our squirrels, despite my protests. They disappeared around the corner, and seconds later the tree fell. That tree was dead when we moved in. It’s stood through many storms since we moved here, but it falls on a crystal clear morning without even a hint of a breeze?
I blame it on the squirrel.
The squirrel ran up the tree to escape the cat, fully aware the falling tree would scare the cat away for weeks. It was blatant squirrel tipping. A few days later, the squirrels struck again.
We have a clothesline tie-out set up for our dogs. Two of my dogs are unstoppable squirrel chasers. Neither has ever caught one, and probably they never will, but chasing them is too much fun to resist.
Since once my dog dragged me across the yard chasing a squirrel, I always peek out the window to check before opening the door. This time, I saw a squirrel, knocked on the window, and it moved out of my sight. I wrongly assumed it left the yard. There’s no trees in our backyard. There’s no acorns, no bird seed, no corn, no scraps, absolutely nothing to interest a squirrel.
But when I opened the door, the dog bolted. That squirrel had stopped just past the limit of the dog’s tie out. No matter how much my dog pulled, barked and jumped, that squirrel never moved. The squirrel displayed no fear. It just sat there, prairie dog style on its hind legs, taunting my dog.
First, the squirrels scared the cats, now they’re taunting the dogs. They’re chasing larger and larger targets up the food chain. I know it sounds crazy. This silly old woman is just reading intention into random squirrel behavior, right?
But if a quarter inch wide spider can chase my tall gangly husband from the house, how much damage could ten squirrels do? It’s frightening.
The final event that finally convinced me occurred at Museum of East Texas a couple of weeks ago, during our monthly Lufkin Art Guild meeting.
I saw a squirrel running at the end of the long hallway in MET. At that point, I had not yet fully realized the depths of the squirrels’ diabolical plans. A squirrel accidentally got into the building; no big deal. It happens randomly in East Texas.
But just 20 minutes later, the squirrel ran into the room right at me and tried to climb my leg. Naturally, I screamed and ran!
Animal Control followed immediately after with a large net. We closed all the doors to contain the creature, and we artists stood back to let the experts do their job. I told my secretary, “I think I need a table.” Undoubtedly, the squirrels had figured me out and I was threatening their takeover. I was in the opposite corner when the squirrel escaped his posse and tried to climb my leg again! This was clearly intentional behavior. This time, there was no mistaking the squirrels’ actions. This was a clear conspiracy.
First the cats, then the dogs and now humans. There are few people on the planet who watch nature as closely as I do, and would be aware enough to fully comprehend this scheme. Of course, we are the squirrels’ next targets.
So, if your car breaks down, or the computers go out at Walmart, a water pipe breaks or your power goes off, beware! There are strong forces at work.
Now you all know what’s up, and can protect yourselves.
Blame it on the squirrel.
Allison Maxwell is a self-taught writer, photographer, nature enthusiast, and artist who enjoys sharing her life experiences with others through her art and her writing. She dived into art as a healing process after a devastating personal loss in 1990. She is a proud native Texan, born in Texas City, and has been living in Lufkin since 1996. She shares her life with her children, grandchildren, friends and a menagerie of animals.