Monday, June 23, 2008

FIELD NOTES: Speaking of backyard murder-mysteries...

June 23, 2008

...I buried my third squirrel this morning after nearly running over the corpse with the lawn mower. The neighbors must wonder what I keep yelping about because I just can’t help reacting loudly when discovering some sort of crime or violation. Not two weeks ago, I saw something white in the lengthening backyard grass. I wondered what it was; maybe a bag blown into our yard? Upon inspection, my son and daughter inside the house heard my yelping: AAAKH! Oh oh oh oh oh! AAAKH! The white was the underside of a squirrel belly-up on the lawn. My eyes trailed up the ancient oak trees where a labyrinth of dead and dying branches exists and I thought perhaps, like the first squirrel I think I wrote about some time ago, he had fallen from the weak canopy. So today, shovel in hand again, I went to dig a hole at the back of the lawn where brush and leaves are left to mulch naturally and discovered the grave of squirrel number two had been breached. Ah, the animal world, driven by a combination of self-preservation, compulsion, survival and instinct rather than morals. And yet, not always so very different from our own as my active mind raises its inner eyebrow…did these squirrels fall…or were they pushed??

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