“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This little cutey has taken to teasing and taunting my dogs. Ruby and Emmy wait for the chipmunk to scamper up on the deck, fully anticipating that they will be able to catch her.

Emmy on the left and Ruby on the right. In the center is Oliver, our daughter's dog - who catches chipmunks at the horse farm where he spends most of his days while she is working....

But alas, the dogs are confined behind glass, or screen, and the chipmunk seems to know it. Oh sure, she runs off whenever the dogs bark at her (which is often...oh my, so very often....) but she also comes very close, dangerously close if it were not for the sliding glass door. She comes to help herself to the pitcher of bird seed that my husband stores on the deck - a partially full, two quart pitcher...and the chipmunk just plunks herself right down inside the pitcher and eats to her heart content. Until the dogs bark. And then she's gone, faster than lightening.

I know people who despise these little ones. People who tell stories of how they have  rid their yard of them with traps and cats and other cruel devices. We don't do that. I keep thinking of Terry Tempest William's book, "Finding Beauty in a Broken World" and her reflections on the value of prairie dogs. Many people in the west find prairie dogs to be a nuisance - their cattle and horses catch their hooves in the holes breaking legs, they "damage" property and cause all kinds of "problems." So the ranchers and farmers get rid of them by poisoning their nests or shooting them.

Turns out, when they get rid of the prairie dogs, the land turns to dust. Nothing can grow. The prairie dogs are crucial to the homeostasis of the ground. Their holes aerate the land and help to keep the soil healthy, which enables the grasses to grow which feed the cattle and horses.

So. I'll take a little annoyance from the chipmunks. They certainly are in higher population this year than they were last - but I suspect something will come around and reduce the population - a fox or a coyote, or something. Nature has her ways of maintaining balance....