Thursday, July 22, 2010
I am in some sort of squirrel cycle.
I started to draft a tale about the squirrels in my backyard, and something in the back of my mind came to life.
That is not an inviting event. Eons of evolution have served me well. Some thoughts are best buried in the closet behind my medulla.
But this was a helpful memory. I thought I had written about squirrels recently. And, I had. Two years ago in cirque back yard.
I have long had a love-hate relationship with squirrels. We all love them for their playful curiosity. Almost as if the paintings of those doe-eyed children in your grandmother's dining room have been reincarnated.
That's the love part. The hate part exposes the worst side of my personality. Where territoriality meets obsession.
Once upon a time I owned a red BMW convertible. A 325i -- to be more precise.
I have never been a car enthusiast. Driving from place to place requires only a utilitarian conveyance. But that car bent my own rule.
I liked driving it. I liked sitting in it. I liked almost everything about it other than the consistent wail of BMW owners -- service costs. Whenever I left the car at the dealer for the most minor of checks, I could count on a bill starting at $400.
Oops! There is a lie three paragraphs above. I did not "own" the car. I leased it. Because I had put far too many miles on it under the lease, I decided to start walking to work -- leaving my red beauty in my detached garage.
During one of my visits to the wallet-draining BMW service center, the mechanic called me back to the bay where my car sat with its hood propped open in true tectonic efficiency.
He wanted me to see what was missing from my engine. Every bit of rubber. Every bit of insulation on the wiring. Gone.
The gnaw marks left little doubt what the culprits were. Squirrels. Decorating their nests with Bavarian paraphernalia.
The repair bill was about $1500 or so. The exact amount escapes me.
What does not escape me is the fact that Jiggs and I went to war with the squirrels. Jiggs never liked them. To him, they were as bad as cats or rats. Not fit for his back yard. But he sensed a new day had dawned. Squirrels were fair game.
Like most vendettas, this one ran its course. The squirrels started reclaiming parts of the backyard. And I was once again amused by their antics.
I thought of the squirrel wars this week. With Jiggs gone, the squirrels are bold enough to play on top of the hot tub. Or gambol about in the yard while I am in the hot tub reading.
They do not even seem to be the same breed as the squirrels in Melaque. I have at least one squirrel that lives in the canopy in my back yard in Mexico. He is noisy. But shy.
I have tried to take several photographs of him on his unusual forays to the ground to gnaw on mangoes. If he spots any movement, he zips up the tree to the safety of his canopy. An instinct born of raptors, cats, and crocodiles, I suspect.
He is longer and darker than the squirrels in Oregon. Well-suited for his tropical life in the trees. If I have identified him correctly, he is a Colima Tree Squirrel.
When I return, I will see if I can take a good photograph.
Of course, while I have been up north, he has probably been stripping the insulation off of my Escape's wiring. Squirrel justice, I suspect.