I knew we’d had one-too-many frigid, below-zero days when I propped open the door from our garage to the backyard last week to pour fresh water into the heated birdbath, and a squirrel standing only a few feet away didn’t budge when he saw me.
In fact, he looked me squarely in the eyes and then made a beeline for the open door into the garage. He got to my feet before I yelled “Whoa! Whoa! Where do you think YOU’RE going?” I’m sure if he could talk he would’ve said, “Lady, it’s freezing out here, I’ve got a chance to go inside, and I’m TAKING it!”
The sound of my voice startled him back to reality and he scrambled away from me and up into some nearby arborvitaes. I felt bad for the little guy so I went back inside the garage and grabbed a handful of in-the-shell peanuts which I usually feed to the Blue Jays.
I stepped back outside and crouched down with the peanuts in my outstretched hand, but the squirrel just stared at me from the shrub, no doubt still processing what had just happened. The temperature was -3 (F) with a wicked wind chill, so I couldn’t sit still for long. Instead I carefully placed the small pile of nuts on the ground and went back inside the house.
I watched from the window, but it was a full 15 minutes before the squirrel felt it was safe enough to go and snatch the peanuts.
Perhaps he went back to his den later that day to write in his diary, “The Day I Temporarily Lost My Mind.”