Field Notes
The Path of Least Resistance Pt 1
The Squirrel

We have a lot of squirrels around our house. Really beautiful brown ones with tails that resemble foxes and the more common grey squirrel with a white plume tail. They come in all shapes and sizes, but mostly appear to be on the well fed size. I usually see them in the trees, they love the towering pines, or on top of the fence line that wraps around our property. Occasionally they make strange squeaking noises, get into loud fights, and nearly misjudge the length of a leap from one tree branch to the next. They remain to be the only animal the Sherman the dog will bark at. Outside of my studio windows sits a redwood bench. It's a low bench and I use it mostly as a platform for my potted succulents and cacti along with a convenient spot to set up the photography for my These Three Things project. I can see the bench from most of the work tables in my studio and up until recently I have never seen a squirrel take any interest to anything nearby.

As I was working the other day I noticed several of the small succulents had been pulled out of the mixed pot. There were a few clumps of dirt, yet everything appeared to be very carefully removed. On my next break, I went to take a closer look. I found 4 small plants sitting outside the pot, along with a collection of rocks that I often cover the dirt with to hold in moisture. It was clear something had been digging in there and to be honest, I had assumed it was our friend Mr. Fantastic, the fox. I grabbed my shovel and carefully placed everything thing back in the pot. This was a very conscious decision and not so much a reaction. There is an unspoken rule when living among wildlife that it is wise to abide by the path of least resistance. Any decision to return something to where it once was after an encounter with wildlife can be trying to swim upstream. I usually take a more go with the flow approach but decided that since I really didn't know what happened and there was not a lot of work involved in both digging out the plants and putting them back in, I'd take a more proactive response. Stay tuned.....more tomorrow

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