Monday, September 29, 2014
"Blonde Beauty" by Brandy Larson 9/2014 There she was - the blonde squirrel, first I ever saw. Her extended family snack at the squirrel cafe in my backyard year round, next to the casual compost pile - some squash seeds, a pancake here, a few corn chips there and mound of black sunflower seeds. The favorite of birds the bag says, though birds rarely get a chance at this treat. This group are the usual greys, but most of them have blond ears. True, squirrels are just rats with bushy tails, as a friend said. Still, I love watching the little critters twitching their tails and chasing each other around. In the early spring, food I set out for them was uneaten. I mentioned this Karen, my back fence neighbor, who also noticed this and started looking around nearby backyards. She saw some poison bait had been put out and even went so far as to dye some rice blue and sneak into that backyard to replace the toxic stuff - but it was too late. I asked who was it, but she wouldn't say. Karen called the city and found out that it isn't illegal to poison squirrels in Madison, though Wisconsin has laws with big fines and jail time for animal cruelty. This is not cruelty? What a terrible way to die. I felt sad and bad for several days, missing my furry friends, but soon another squirrel drifted into the newly opened territory and a new squirrel set was running up and down the trees, fences and across garage tops, finding the snacks I'd set out and filling the niche of this microcosm on the Isthmus. But until when? True, the world is full of tragic violence of huge consequence. Maybe concern for these little critters is small potatoes. But not to me. Maybe I can make a sign for my own front yard that says, Honor the Squirrels, Don't Poison Them. Meanwhile, I wonder how long it will take for nature to surprise me some morning with another blonde beauty?