Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cuddly and cute and thinkng about tomorrow

I wasn’t sure if it was Chip or Dale, but a cute little chipmunk – well, aren’t they all cute? – has made my yard his playground for the last several months. And no, the bug-eyed fellow in the photo here is not the diminutive critter dashing about my property.

If I had time to grab my camera, this is pretty much what he (or, um, she) looks like. Heck, they might be cousins; both have that oh-so sweet chubby cheeks and wide-eyed stare thing going on. I’m just saying …

I imagine it takes another chipmunk to easily tell one from the other. My guess is the little squirrels – yes, essentially chipmunks are tiny squirrels – carry all sorts of exotic diseases, but from a distance they seem harmless and, well, cute

They also have a little something to say about the human condition. At least that’s what I was thinking when I spotted Emile – hey, I have to call him something – scurrying around my patio earlier this week. Chipmunks are obsessive-compulsive planners. Emile knows the days are growing shorter and cooler. It’s time to get ready for winter.

So my furry friend stays busy now collecting stuff to keep him and his family comfy in the coming months. We’re talking nuts and berries, the occasional bird’s egg, small frogs, worms and fungi. Yech! Oh, and a few bits of bread, pretzels and roasted peanuts! You know, your basic comfort food!

Here’s one additional factoid before I wrap this all together and wow you with my insight into chipmunks and what their behavior has to do with you and me. It turns out those chubby cheeks aren’t just about cuteness. Chipmunks have cheek pouches that allow them to carry multiple food items to their burrows for storage. Who knew?

So, Nor, what's it all mean? I'm glad you asked. The days are getting shorter and cooler. That’s meant as a metaphor. It’s time we started filling our, ahh, pouches with nuts and seeds. Another metaphor. Because I fear there’s a long, frigid winter stretching out in front of us and you can never have too many tasty worms hidden away in storage. Just saying …

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