The squirrel

Day 163

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

In the very beginning of winter, as the last bright leaves fell from the trees

we forgot a soft, fleecy blanket outside in the yard.

Bright blue, with pink and yellow shapes all over it,

it got rained on, and snowed on,

and frozen solid.

And forgotten.

But not by everyone.

Because for weeks I’ve wondered how it keeps moving around,

from the bird feeders, to the steps,

to the base of the big, old maple tree.

I’ve even said to Wil, “I wonder how that blanket keeps moving around the yard?” And mostly figured it must just be the wind.

But then I got my answer.

One morning, out the big picture window

Revel and I, and my mom, and Zander

watched one of the small gray squirrels with the pinkish ears

climb down from the leaf nest in the high branches of the tall, scraggly spruce tree,

down through the branches, and over the trunk,

around the fence and over the ground,

to the bright blue blanket with the little shapes

left to weather the winter storms.

He gathered up the edge of the blanket in his small, perfect hands, and between his sharp little teeth



with all his might

back towards the fence, and the tree trunk

over the same way he had come.

But it was heavy for him, and much too large,

and so he rested a moment and then


with mighty little bites,

until his cheeks were stuffed with bright blue tufts

of our fuzzy, fleecy blanket.

And then he scampered,

quick and sure footed,

back through the tree branches, back to his nest,

in the highest limbs

of the old, and scraggly spruce tree.

Several times he came,

running, grabbing, chewing, and running back up again,

until I presume,

he had what he wanted

and curled back into his freshly made bed

now bright blue

like the color of a summer sky,

or the wings of the bluebird,

or the deepest part of the

vast and salty


And warm.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen


One response to “The squirrel

  1. Since my Mom’s obsession with her rescued squirrels, bits of squirrel lore have trickled their way down to me. That very likely may have been a female feathering her nest for the gestating batch of wee ones. How lovely that you unknowingly left that blanket out for her! It’s been such a rough winter.

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