My Squirrel Day in “Engwish”

by Newt the Squirrel

What a beautiful day. The air is warm with anticipation for spring, with the sun warming my arching back as I stretch. My tree, or “Mossy” as I know him, is located a couple of squirrel lengths from the stony paths that line the creek. All of its branches (including the one I’m stretching on) are bare of leaves, but the residual ice that lines the marks of its barks have almost completely melted. My burrow in said tree is looking forward to having some more leaves and acorns for cushioning and home sweet home. More importantly, the holly bushes in the distance are sprouting a vibrant display of white and light green flowers. I can’t wait to go ham when the fruit forms! After a good stretch, I’m ready to go check on and replenish my stores throughout the woods. 

With the feel of solid bark beneath my paws, I hop between bare branches of varying length through the forest. My stores in this length of the forest slope should be around here somewhere. Yes, I buried my food sources underground in a pattern that happened to resemble a straight line. It’s not that obvious to my squirrel peers or anybody with crafty intentions. Sometimes I might check my stores and notice that three or more nuts are missing, but I’m pretty sure had I been robbed, all of them would have disappeared.*I’ve learned that one to two missing is really a reflection of my imperfection either as a species or individual, however loathe I am to admit it.*  On a lower branch, I stop and survey the land around me. At the base of a tree just above the first sight of the forest’s steep decline, a patch of ground lies just a tad above the surrounding forest floor. That is the first store I dug before this winter and the start of my store trail  no doubt about it. Yes, I mark my stores by placing a bit of extra dirt on top. It’s not obvious unless you were actually searching for them, you know. I leap off the low branch, feeling the crunch of the dry, shriveled leaves beneath my paws as I absorb the impact of the ground that shifts to resist my weight. A symphony of leaves scattering about the floor accompanies my sprint over to the miniature dirt mound. Digging a couple squirrel-lengths down, I furiously swing the last layer of the dirt to the side as the aroma of sweet walnuts and pine seeds bathes my nose. The rich mixture of light and dark brown combined with the smell command me to rigidly stand in a moment of silence for the encapsulation of such awesomeness in every one of those shells.  In almost the same vein as those screaming trunks with pouches you humans set free to eat all of your messes, I efficiently and swiftly pluck up a pawful of chewables to take back to Mossy for my continued sustenance during my lazy days. I then pile together the half-frozen dirt around the hole I just dug for myself, adding my finishing touch of a couple of pats on the top of the short mound. “That’s the first store accounted for! Now there’s only 14 more along this length of the woods to take stock of.”

Now, I won’t go into much detail about my magnificent dietary choices, the finest omnivore diet known to mother nature. I’m already taking a risk revealing the contents of my first reserve. However, my flawless description of just one of these treasure burrows will likely gift you humans all the details you need to guarantee that you will dream about the heavenly quality of my nuts tonight. *No, I don’t believe there is anything to laugh at here. Carry on.*

Before anyone asks who the writer of this narrative is, let me preface your judgemental human tendencies: I am a squirrel and my name’s Newt. Yes, I know how to write. “Engwish” is no sweat for these miraculous paws.

Judging from your shockingly frozen faces, you all are incredulous that a non-human can do stuff with the exclusive human endowment of “intelligence”, or whatever it is you all snicker while walking underneath the majestic trees of the Crum woods. Through a two-fold plan over the past two years, I’ve become fluent in this “Engwish” along with my native language, “Squirell”. The first phase of this plan was just described to you; I literally did nothing. You complacent but interesting humans have given my ears daily to your unique sound patterns and my eyes daily exposure to your corresponding behaviors. Second, I have stalked all of you hairless two-legs as you all congregate in those abnormal rectangular nests every day. That squirrel you were probably dismissing or laughing at was probably me on a reconnaissance mission. Thanks to all the untrimmed trees surrounding most of your nests, I’ve had a front row nest to all the weird stuff your species does. *Hopefully, this suggests that you humans are considering moving out soon. No pressure, but I encourage you to take action before the trees pierce through your nests.*

The most unsettling ritual of humanity that I’ve experienced has been “communicative scratching”. I am stumped by your tendency to grasp manicured sticks and scrape them in zig-zag lines across the black rectangles on your walls with colored dust flying everywhere. I have coined this bizarre behavior, “communicative scratching” , a work of the The bizarreness of human nature aside, my healthy adaptation of the comprehension of “Engwish” has allowed me to transcend the limitations of being smaller than your entire species population. From navigating these square nests based on passerby chatter to terrifying the jingle berries out of my would be two-leg predators with the power of sharpened sticks, I have benefited much. And by talking back, I do mean writing as we’ve discussed before with my vocal chords. That’s one thing mother nature has not delivered yet to my species, but I’m sure it’ll happen soon. I learned 

Now it’s time to come back to reality instead of preaching to an invisible audience. My reality currently dictates that hard work is a prerequisite for rewards, so I better get started. I balance myself as I slowly walk my way towards the rest of the mounds dotting the downhill landscape below. Stopping at every burrow, I am careful to extract only the best aged nuts and seeds. I might have cursed under my breath about eight times total.“If only I had some cheek pouches like those damn chipmunks”, I muttered for every nut that fell out of my paws. The inevitable conclusion of an average day in my life nears as I deposit my package back in the “snack” groove near the left corner of my tree burrow. “Mossy, if you could speak Squirell, I’d lavish you with prophecies of how many lazy days this batch would last me!” 

And that’s it. “What??”, you might have just exclaimed. I wanted to share an average day in my life because I wanted to add more of my perspective as a squirrel into the world of humans. If you all briefly ignore the part where I disparaged the human species for over a minute, this is my attempt to provide an unheard perspective as the unofficial representative of my kind. Although this position was a self-appointed role I put into effect despite not being the President of the squirrel population in Crum, I do believe it is valid given that only I have mastered communicating through at least “communicative scratching” in “Engwish” with the humans. 

That’s all I’m giving out this time. I hope you are able to acknowledge that a squirrel’s life is anything but boring, my two-legged neighbors. It’s best if your eyes don’t dilly dally on this article to scan for the bloopers I know you humans love making scandals out of. The way you humans think is beyond me… Well, goodbye humans. You may be hairless, but somehow you always get the hairs on my shoulders perked up with bewildered curiosity.  

As Newt the squirrel waves nutwards at an indiscernible audience in the distance, a set of eyes is watching him from the shadows of wilted undergrowth a couple of trees away from “Mossy”. The round, black eyes survey the squirrel as Newt stops waving and scampers away nutward, with an extra spring in his step. After the sound of Newt’s pawsteps disappears behind the rustle of dry leaves being disturbed, the eyes reveal their owner as a small figure steps out from the shriveled undergrowth. Reggie the chipmunk stands silently for a moment, with the rising sun illuminating the dormant-until-now radiance of their reddish-brown fur. Their eyes have shifted to the large hole near the top of a particular tree, “Mossy”, as they heard that squirrel named it. Reggie knows that it is not prudent to trespass across squirrel grounds as the chipmunk-squirrel dispute over access to the holly berries has been souring as of late.  Still, they kind of want to find out what’s in that hole. During springtime, squirrels dig up quite a lot of treats. “One look and then I’ll go. No one will know anything; it’ll be fineee!!” 

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