I’m Not Alone
Now that my time with grandkids, friends, meetings, shopping, entertainment of all sorts has been so dramatically curtailed, I have the time to sit on my garden patio. I may read. I may have little snippets of conversation with myself. Or I simply sit.
I have even taken to eating my meals on the patio. It soon became clear to me that I did not have to eat by myself. Several feisty and curious little chipmunks were eager to join me. A couple of weeks ago I started to throw them breadcrumbs, crackers, bits of whatever I was eating. Then I would sit very still and one or the other of them would sneak up cautiously, quickly grab their culinary delight, and scamper off, usually taking refuge beneath large hosta leaves.
By now, they have gotten so used to me that I can move about in my chair, to scratch a mosquito bite or chase away a fly, without notice from them. They are also so comfortable with me that they remain wherever they pick up their morsel and nibble it right there, often right in front of me.
Sometimes, for no reason I can discern, they dart off to their favorite rock some distance away to finish their feast: I call it the “chipmunk throne.” They’ve been known to brush up against my feet as they search for more goodies. Sometimes, when they are truly sated and there is more food to be had, they stuff smaller and larger bites into their cheeks until they look like they have come down with a lopsided case of the mumps.
Those little guys (and gals) are so darn cute. I find them to be so much more curious and engaged than other wild rodents. They seem to really want to figure out what’s up and how to get the most fun – or food benefit – out of a situation.
It may sound absurd to some, but when we had the front steps built last summer, I had secret, tiny entrances made on the side buttresses and an interior pathway that cuts across the whole expanse of the stairs – because for five years prior, a chipmunk had lived under our crumbling concrete stairs and slipped in and out of a crack to come and go. I felt so terrible about destroying his/her den that I had to extend the invitation to move back in. It makes me very happy to watch that little chipmunk slip into the hole on one side of the stairs and out the other side.
I’m glad you have your buddies to keep you company, Dagmar, while you wait to reunite with family and friends.
Sweet comment – thanks, Molly. And I’m so happy for your little chipmunk friend and his continuing hangout under your steps 🙂 My little guys and gals are amazing: They are right by my chair within a minute or two after I sit down – how do they know so quickly that their food source has arrived? Not only cute – but also, so smart!
Love the story and the comments. Making a secret hiding spot is such a fun idea! This thread has reminded me of watching Mimi’s Doug feed chipmunks while he was still at home. A lovely memory.