Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Squirrel Whisperer

Recently I made my first trip to D.C. The monuments and musuems where very cool and well worth seeing. The Mall, where most of the monuments and the Smithsonian museums reside, is a HUGE place. I get tired just thinking of walking around it again. The Mall has Capital Hill at one end, the Lincoln Memorial at the other and the Washington monument about 2/3 the way toward Lincoln. The straight line distance is at about 2 miles and most of it seems like a giant park. Trees, flowers, ponds all through the Mall as well as various animals. The canadian geese seem to enjoy the Mall grounds and the 'scuba diving' ducks were fun to watch as well, but the most fun were the squirrels.

I have always enjoyed them and marveled at their nearly fearless attitude towards us. In fact I snuck up on one here at home and touched his tail and then watched him run up and down the tree trunk and finally settle in just above my head to give me a good scolding. He sat there for several minutes just letting me know how much he DID NOT appreciate this behavior. Now the Mall squirrels were even more fearless than he was, they would come within a couple feet of you at nearly any moment in their search for food and only move as far as necessary to stay 'just outside' of arms reach.

Since my wife had brought some nuts to snack on we decided to share wiht a few of them. I soon came up with a system that had them literrally eating out of my hand. I would take one of the almonds and toss it near a squirrel and when he finished I would hold another in my hand and extend it toward him. After a few seconds of thought they would wander over and situp and gently reach up and take the nut. They then would usually sit there and finish that nut or stuff it in a cheek and look for more.

My wife and I did this several times (much to the boredom of our guide, sorry Gary). Somewhere in the day I noticed a different squirrel, this one was black,his tail was shorter and he seemed a little smaller than the others but he was wandering around looking for food too so I tried my trick one more time and sure enough,he came and ate from my hand as well. This time however,I had an audience, a group of people were walking by as I was making friends with this little guy. One of the ladies looked and smiled and said, "you are the squirrel whisperer". I smiled back and told them how I was doing it and we all carried on with our day but it now occurs to me that we all miss out on some things. At times it does not occur to us that we can have a fun little moment like that and I bet we all miss out on some very cool stuff because we do not try it. I think we all can be squirrel whisperers.

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