The minute I typed the title for today’s blog, I thought to myself, this is way too optimistic. Spring in the Midwest usually doesn’t begin until somewhere between late April and July. We’ve been known to have blizzards in May. However, this year the snow cover has dwindled to almost nil and grass is beginning to turn from brown to green. I will therefore maintain my Pollyanna persona and say with assurance that spring has definitely sprung. There are other signs too – like the returning squirrels looking for remnants of their autumn hidings.
Feral cats have shown themselves again. The cat we call, “Crabby” has shown herself once more. I thought the winter had done her in. She’s apparently the top cat in the neighborhood, having produced the most kittens so she has a right to be crabby. When she didn’t show up for so long I thought the freezing cold spell of February deposed her from her Queendom. She appeared a few days ago and paraded through our yard as if to say, “I’m back,” just like Jack Nicholson might. The rest of the menagerie is showing no shame in their attempts at mating – leaving nothing to the imagination.
Birds are showing up in flocks when the cats are in hiding. A pair of cardinals have been year round visitors to the feeders. They’ve been joined by a few newcomers like purple finch, downy woodpeckers and chickadees galore. We’ve finally discovered a formula for the birds that doesn’t appeal to the squirrels. So far the tree rats have not been fond of this new stuff.
Every spring I’m reminded of my encounter with a pellet gun and a pesky little squirrel who insisted on raiding the bird feeder daily. I had enough and decided to take brazen action, so I loaded Paul’s pellet gun, put on my Anne Oakley hat and perched myself on the deck facing the bird feeder, I took aim at the intruder and my finger got caught in the spring mechanism. My screams of pain went unheeded as said squirrel continued to devour the seed. I took aim again. The squirrel did a most dramatic swan dive off the feeder and fell flat on the ground. I was mortified. I had never killed a living thing, other than stepping an ant or swatting a fly until that moment. My conscience kicked in as I saw his lifeless little body. I thought of his surviving family of baby squirrels and a wife somewhere. My heart strings were tugging.
In the matter of two seconds, that critter was up and ran into the woods. That night I had one of my vivid dreams. I was seated on top of the bird feeder as thousands of squirrels circled below with pellet guns in paws. I woke in a cold sweat and never touched a firearm again.
These days, I’ve become more tolerant. I now enjoy watching them trying to work their way up the pole and helping themselves to food not intended for them. Their acrobatic antics are amazing. God has a way of amusing us through the creation of all his wildlife creatures. Spring might be here or we may get dumped on with another snowfall, but the signs are showing and I’m not giving up this time.