Is it just me, or are these things getting eerily smart? I remember a time when squirrels were doe-eyed, fluffy little sacks of preciousness that you were really lucky to see at the park. Or on a family camping trip. They certainly were not the honey badgers that have infiltrated the cypress trees along our driveway. What are these things?!
They are tree-demons. That’s what they are.
When we first moved to this house, I was enchanted with them. But that was before the war. Things were different then. I suppose it was Chance (our yellow mutt, see ‘Menagerie’ page) who started it. It was a fateful day when he discovered that the trunk-hugging, low-set branches of the cypress trees could be used as a ladder with enough speed behind him. That was probably the moment when it all changed. When the tree-demons realized that their boundaries had been breached.
Chance went immediately on the defensive. Every single day of the four years we have lived here, he has spent patrolling the driveway, his face turned to the skies, watching those cypress. Any sign of the enemy, and he is up those trees so fast it’s breathtaking. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen my sweet-tempered, twelve-year-old dog with his jaws viciously clamped on a tree branch ten feet off the ground. You just haven’t lived.
Those squirrels, though. Nothing phases them. If Chance is swinging ten feet off the ground, well, one of them is relaxing at eleven feet, barking (laughing) at him. This was the extent of the madness for awhile; a bunch of fun and games really. Fun and games until the damned squirrels began to arm themselves. It started with persimmons. When those weren’t in season, it was tomatoes or little cypress pine cones. But the secret weapon? Rocks. I hear them more than I see them: a rock dropping twenty feet to the pavement makes a very distinct sound. But really, I did not believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. It was an especially active squirrel day–Chance had been on guard all afternoon as I worked in the garden. I just happened to be turning on the driveway to head back into the house, and Abbie (our white boxer) was sitting just up the drive, waiting on me. Right at the second I made eye contact with her, I watched a sizable rock sail out of the nearest cypress and miss her ear by less than an inch. She flicked that ear, but was otherwise unaware. Chance, however, saw it all, and, accordingly, went ballistic. As he raced to that tree, calling the alarm, not one, but two more rocks, popped out of the tree. Nobody, yet, has gotten hit by one, but from what I have seen, the aim is improving.
It is constantly suggested to me that I should get a pellet gun. Sigh. First of all, my aim is not as good as the squirrels’. Second of all, they are just so….damned….cute. I can’t do it. I can’t do it! This is how I know that I have truly lost….because despite it all, they are still such fluffy sacks of preciousness.