When in doubt: SQUIRREL!

This was the first photo I took on my way to the irrigation ditch late this afternoon. I ended up capturing a bunch of great shots that I’ll share in the future, but I’m going to start with this bushy-tailed specimen.

Squirrel!

A tale of two squirrels and Denali National Park

When I lived in Alaska I went to Denali National Park a number of times. You can ride one of the old school buses through the entire park (80+ miles) to the end point which is Wonder Lake. The vistas are magnificent and there’s lots of wildlife to be seen along the way. Moose and Dall’s sheep, maybe a lone wolf galloping along or a brown bear with a cub or two. Ground squirrels and scolding marmots. One of my first rides on the bumpy dirt road was in the company of another visitor who became quite animated at the sight of some moose. There was also a group of park workers on the bus and one of them scoffed at the visitor’s excitement and said something like “You’ve seen one moose, you’ve seen them all.”

I remember feeling bad for that worker and hoping I’d never become bored by what I saw. And so it was in that spirit that I photographed these two squirrels in Kapok Park earlier this month.

I watched in delight as they chased each other around a tree trunk before jumping to the ground where they began to forage. There are certainly more “exotic” creatures in the park such as alligators and anhingas, but these feisty squirrels also caught my attention.

I hereby declare “mundane” be reserved for chores like dirty dishes and suggest that squirrels be viewed as Great Fun! Who’s with me?

Squirrel!

In honor of those who struggle to address life’s demands in an orderly fashion without getting distracted along the way . . .

Snowpocalypse Now

We’re finally getting much-needed snow! The recent warm temperatures and freakishly dry landscape felt slightly apocalyptic, so it’s a huge relief to receive moisture. Plus, the white provides a nice, clean blanket over all that drab brown.

However, it’s possible that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the snowstorm.

Channeling my inner squirrel

This guy was at the feeder that hangs right outside our living room window.  When I sat to watch him liberate shelled peanuts from the cylinder, he immediately copped an attitude. He was furious that I was interfering with his efforts, and most certainly the chatter aimed at me was profane.

This squirrel’s head about popped off.

I admired him so much. Check out his body language. At first glance, you’d think the guy was chill, focused and absolutely motionless. Except. Note the blurred tail.

That is my goal for today as I tackle my revisions: to work with intense focus while also keeping in constant motion.

Today I embraced my inner squirrel

I’m working on a synopsis for my work-in-progress and, as anyone who has ever written one can attest, it’s not a pretty process. This time around I’m writing a synopsis before writing the novel which means I’m not locked into anything.

NOT LOCKED INTO ANYTHING = EVERYTHING IS A POSSIBILITY

Or another way to describe it: SQUIRREL BRAIN FREE-FOR-ALL

My ADD tendencies are having a blast-y as I try to reconcile my rough outline with all the brand new shiny ideas firing in my brain.

ZIP ZAP ZOOP.

However, I did make progress today. And when I’d had enough of ye olde synopsis, I put Emma on her leash and we went for a run on the trails.

Nothing clears the squirrel from one’s brain like a run over uneven terrain.

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SQUIRREL!

Actually, unlike Dug the Dog from the movie UP, I maintained my focus today. I woke this morning with a game plan for working on opening pages of a new middle-grade, and I kept to that schedule. I made good progress and am feeling (slightly) less nervous about sending those pages (plus more) to my critique group on Monday.

I declare today a WIN for this writer.

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What I Saw While Running to Nowhere

When I woke up this morning it was cold and wet, the streets covered in an icy, slushy mess. My plan had been to run outside, but the moisture plus 40 degree temperature convinced me to have a “boring” run on the treadmill.

HA! It was anything but boring. And no, I didn’t fall overboard or go flying off the back.

My treadmill looks out onto my backyard that is planted with native shrubs and covered in mulch. There are bird feeders and bath, squirrel nut munch, and an ear of corn that yesterday I harvested from the volunteer corn stalk growing against the house. In the 35 minutes I was on the treadmill, going nowhere fast(ish), I saw:

  • a flock of European Starlings swooping up and away from the wild plum bush growing behind the fence, only to return and line up on the fence in front of me
  • oodles of House Finches exploring the leaves and mulch
  • a Goldfinch moving from sunflower to sunflower, in search of seeds
  • a Black-billed Magpie alighting on the fence and allowing me two whole seconds to admire its gorgeous plumage
  • Mourning Doves and Eurasian-collared Doves, wings spread wide as they descended in the yard
  • a whole slew of Dark-eyed Juncos acting like bullies on a playground
  • a male Northern Flicker that popped up from behind the fence with his dapper ‘tude
  • a squirrel and a Western Scrub Jay working to extract kernels from the corn cob (although not at the same time)

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have seen a fraction of this activity on the street, so I wanted to document this treadmill workout for later in the season when I’m longing to be outside. I need to remember that, sometimes, running in place is where it’s at.

View from my treadmill.

View from my treadmill.

Ruminating on Interspecies Love

Is it possible,
do you think?
For a squirrel
to fall in love with a cat?
Squirrel courting cats 013To pose and perform?
To entice rather than tease?Squirrel courting cats 014Is it possible,
do you think?
For one cat to writhe in response
while the other watches dispassionately?Loki and Marcel 020Is it possible,
do you think?
To guess who writhed
and who yawned?