Squirrels help chase boredom away

Published 12:18 am Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bored? Maybe you should look to the treetops.

One day when I let my dog outside, she raced down the steps toward a tree in the back yard. She had spotted a squirrel. By the time she reached the tree trunk, the squirrel had sprinted to the top branches of the tree. It then leaped to a branch on another tree and made its way on other branches above the garage. I have seen the same thing happen several times. For seconds during that squirrel’s long leaps from branch to branch, it seems to hang in mid-air.

That escapade reminded me of a squirrel story a couple who lived in a beautiful, quiet neighborhood told me. It was snitching towels they kept stored in their garage. At that very moment, a pink hand towel was dangling from a branch of an oak tree in their yard. They had spotted a squirrel running backwards, dragging a towel across their driveway. When they walked toward it, the critter dropped the towel and scuttled away.

The next day, the little thief showed up at the garage again, grabbed a towel and started pulling it off when it saw the couple standing on guard. Foiled again, it dropped the towel, bolted outside, and disappeared in some tree branches.

The same thing occurred the next day. On day four, they noticed a towel at the base of an oak tree near their driveway. That is when they looked up to search among the tree branches and discovered the pink hand towel gently dangling in the breeze among the greenery—approximately forty feet above the ground. They wondered how the determined squirrel managed to pull the towel so high in the treetop. One of the couple’s neighbors said if they had filmed the squirrel making its way up the tree with their towel, they might have won some money from one of those television shows that feature such antics.

Could it be that the squirrel wanted a flag to mark its nest? Or maybe it sought some soft “people comfort” to line its nest to make squirrel babies comfortable.

The couple wondered if it were the same squirrel that amused them at a feeder. The wife thought it might be, because she thought that one was shrewd, too. When her husband put an ear of corn on the feeder, the squirrel swung back and forth in an attempt to reach it. It hung upside down to eat the corn, but never retrieved any corn from the ground.

My husband and I once watched a squirrel break tender young branches high in a tree and scurry to a limb where it had a nest under construction. Sometimes it dropped the branches before it reached the nest. As long as we watched, it never stopped to rest.

Another time, while we camped on a rainy day, a squirrel nest crashed down on top of our truck.

Yes, squirrels are sometimes amusing, boredom-chasing critters.