Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Division of Labor

An Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis...

There ought to be a philosophical statement to be made about finally getting the half dozen piles of leaves raked and hauled out of the yard. I rake, therefore I am, or Know Your Leaf. Something like that. Trouble is, I can't think of one.

Maybe spirituality would be better. Laboring together with Nature -- how's that? Except yesterday, I was the one doing all the work while Nature was busy creating the necessity for it in the first place. I didn't notice one tree pick up a rake or bag and offer to help out. Can you believe that?

Furthermore, not a single one said thanks afterward. Talk about poor upbringing. Now, I'm a human (most days) and was raised to express appreciation when someone cleaned up a mess I'd made. Please and thank you, my mother used to tell me, are words you should never forget to say. Obviously, this group of trees and I have very different roots.

The squirrels and chipmunks, on the other hand, clearly have a well-defined sense of civic pride. A month ago, Butternuts and acorns littered the yard like confetti in Times Square on New Year's Day but lately I notice their numbers have dwindled and it appears somebody besides me has been busy.

I'm fine with this as long as they don't leave their tools lying around for me to pick up when they've finished. Last year it took me forever to collect and store them in the hollow trunk of the fallen tree behind my house that serves as their storage facility. The worst part of it was this big, grizzled gray fellow who insisted on supervising. Taking orders from the dog and cat are one thing, but a squirrel? That's a bit much.

(Creative Commons image of an eastern gray squirrel via Wikipedia)
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