A Bestiary


Bird feeder in the garden.
Squirrels pilfer the seeds.
I arrive. They scatter to the four winds.
But one doesn’t. It remains. I approach, it still remains.
Continuing to feed, it cheekily looks at me. 
I walk closer, he scampers a few feet away, eyeing me. 
I step back and he returns to the feeder. 
For the next few days this dance continues. 
Squirrels pilfer the seed, I enter, all scatter except one.

The squirrels drop many seeds to the ground below while eating.
Rats at night gather to dine on these leftovers.
A decision is made. The bird feeder is removed.

Next day I enter the garden. 
The brazen squirrel is on the top of the fence.
It glares at me. I walk a few steps, it follows me, still glaring. 
I walk back, it scampers back, still glaring. 
It won’t stop following me until I leave the garden.

A few days pass. I am reading in the garden. 
I hear the rustling of leaves in a small tree I planted. 
The squirrel is stripping the bark off of a branch and eating. 
It drops some strips of bark on the ground. 
It plops down, picks a strip up, sits on his haunches, and eats the bark, 
all the while looking at me.

A week later the tree is dead.

I never saw the squirrel again.
It either moved on to astound another gardener,
or perhaps, passed on over to the Great Garden.