Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ground Exercises

Oh frabjous day, calooh, callay, the baby squirrels have come out of their nests.  There is nothing quite like the crazed frenzy of a  baby squirrel running amok in the yard.  The first time I witnessed it, I thought something was dreadfully wrong, (see very first blogpost in the sidebar archives, but don't judge me by my naive ranting---since then I've learned they fledge twice a year, spring and fall, so that poor little thing was a September fledgling). Now I've seen it often enough to know it is what newly fledged squirrels do when they discover their amazing strength and agility. Imagine the exhilaration of finding a whole new world outside the confines of a deep nest.

Today's little guy had a small stick about the size of a pencil, all covered in green lichen, with which he rolled and tumbled and played so vigorously it's a wonder he didn't exhaust himself. Sometimes he would stop long enough to nibble along the stick, as if eating an ear of corn, then suddenly return to his frenzied antics, wildly leaping and twisting into the air like a crazed gymnast. Sometimes he'd settle on his haunches perfectly still, then leap a vertical 18 inches into the air, only to land straight back down on his haunches like he'd never left the ground.  Then he'd return to tumbling around his stick, tearing partway up the tree trunk and back down to attack his stick again. How cute and white, his upturned belly when he landed on his back.  How giant and furry his tail, seeming way too big for his tiny self. Of course, he's gone by the time I get back with a camera.

More than newfound freedom, these are probably ground exercises, for the purpose of developing the life skills needed to leap safely through tree branches at high altitudes.

Do your exercises well, little squirrel.  You're going to need all the speed and agility you can get when Moe runs you off the deck with his tennis racket. dkm


Pukeko G said...

Makes me tired listening to the little chaps gymnastics, sounds cute all the same. We watched a very interesting doc on Yellowstone Pk last night and watched a fox from standing start .. 'Dive' into about a meter depth of snow to catch a mouse! What an amazing Park !!

Jane Robertson said...

I am still smiling as I type :-) What a wonderful description. "The exhilaration of finding a whole new world outside the confines of a deep nest". Absolutely.

We don't really have little animals to watch here. The ones we do have (eg possums, rabbits, stoats, weasels...) are introduced and have attained pest status. I still go all soppy when I see squirrels in the UK or the States :-))))

dkm said...

PG, we've never been to Yellowstone but it's on our bucket list. Along with NZ!

Jane, lol, then you would be a soppy mess in Decatur, GA. At one point today I counted six squirrels in the yard at once. Your hedgehogs would do the same for me:-) and those pretty little blue fan birds. And a pukeko, of course!

Pukeko G said...

I was thinking we didn't really have a bird like the Woodpecker .. but today I saw a Kingfisher .. that is close enough. Re the bucket list .. good for you :o)>

dkm said...

A kingfisher would be a treat for me too. Have seen one that I remember in Florida, on a bay, but never this far inland.

Patricia Lichen said...

Oh, I love this! What a wonderful description! That's some backyard you've got there!

dkm said...

Patricia---It's a very ordinary, unremarkable back yard. We are fortunate enough to be less than a mile from a 65-acre preserved forest---Fernbank Forest---http://fsc.fernbank.edu/forest.htm---and to have a piney woods behind our property, both of which are responsible for interesting birds, especially at migration time, but, more than that, I think it's the long sitting observations that make the yard appear in a blog to be more exotic than it is. Notice, I rarely photograph the whole thing. It's full of weeds and brush piles just like any backyard. The absolutely remarkable thing I've learned in this practice is that remarkable things happen all day every day outside everywhere---and all we have to do is pay attention to it. Gifts of the universe. Even in an urban setting as large as Atlanta. I'm often overwhelmed with the choice of things to write about. Whittling each post to just one topic is a discipline I'm trying to hone. Not always successful!

Niki said...

You write so beautifully, Deb. I can't wait for your book to be let loose on the world. How is it going?

dkm said...

Thank you and ha! "Let loose" is good advice:-) First I have to get out of this serious death grip of avoidance I seem to be caught in---some have called it fear of finishing. Allow me to turn the compliment around to your beautiful photography. Are you taking a photography course? I'm wondering about where your "challenges" come from.

Niki said...

Thanks Deb :D

I wish I was doing a photography course. Too expensive. The institute where I did the Writing for Children correspondence course has photography courses as well. They have an online student discussion board. There are several competitions run each month. Mainly writing, but the Freelance Photography tutor has these photo challenges. It's open to all students/graduates. I'm the only writer who enters. The Freelance students use SLR cameras. I use my wee point and shoot camera. I get embarrassed sometimes because their photos look so professional compared to mine, but I really love it and I'm picking up tips. I seem to be holding my own because I won a photography magazine with my 'pig tails' photo. It's all fun. :)

I shall have to get Jane onto you. She gives good kicks up the bottom when one is caught in a death grip! :D

Niki said...

ps I put the photos on my blog because I need to copy their URL to be able to insert them on the student board. If you right-click a photo on your blog you will see 'copy image URL'. Can't just insert photos like we do with blog or email.

dkm said...

Congrats, Niki, on magazine prize for pig tails. I remember it and agree! Also, I need a good "kick up the bottom" to get out of this block.

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