Life on the Road

Squirrel Superhighway.  That’s what I’ve named the top railing of the fence in my backyard.  The squirrels must be running on high octane because they race from one end to the other, sometimes so fast, all I see is the flick of their tails. 

This highway has all the problems of a regular commuter route.  Sometimes a squirrel will stop in the middle of the road for no reason.  Then other squirrels either have to go around the traffic jam by climbing part way down the side of the fence and coming back up after the road block, or they have a stare down contest that ends when the loser turns and runs the other way.    

Tailgating is a huge issue on the squirrel highway.  One will follow too closely to the one in front, and there is a lot of noisy chattering, the squirrel equivalent of cussing, I suppose. 

Sometimes, the road is closed for a block party where one squirrel jumps on another, forming a ball where they tumble back and forth on the railing.  Not sure how they manage not to fall, but so far no injuries that I know of. 

There must be a traffic light that is visible only to the squirrels because sometimes they just stop.  They scratch for a while, enjoy the scenery, and then move on.

And what would a road trip be without a snack.   They’ll pull off the highway to visit the squirrel – proof bird feeder.  Hanging by their back feet, they gorge until they’ve had enough, or the feeder runs dry.

If they’re lucky, the woman next door comes out with peanuts that they quickly grab and dash off with for a roadside picnic.  Late-comers who find themselves empty-handed attempt a stealthy wipe from the paws of the lucky ones.   Pilfering, however, is not tolerated.  Some loud and emphatic chattering and a quick two-step advance let the would-be thief know they’d better back off.  Fast.  The meal is quickly finished as furry cheeks puff in and out, and then it’s back on the highway.

While there may be a few bumps in the squirrels’ superhighway, it doesn’t seem to bother them.  I guess they figure it’s a small price to pay for a good meal and the freedom of life on the road. 

© Lynn Wyvill 2012

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