The baby chipmunk peered at me from the other side of the screen door at the lake and chirped, begging for a treat. I was in the middle of clearing everything off the lowest utility room shelf so that the workers could determine why the floor under the water heater and pressure tank had started to sag toward the Black Hole of a crawl space below the house. Trust me when I tell you that I was in no mood for visitors, cute, furry, or otherwise. Nonetheless, I dug a few stale Cocoa Krispies out of the box, opened the screen door and tossed them out on the step.
And that’s when I noticed that my little visitor was wearing what looked to be a chipmunk-sized green lace scarf around her neck.
I went outside to take a closer look and upon further chipmunk inspection, realized that she wasn’t actually trying to be fabulous at all. Her begging, curious, ways must have found her with her head stuck in part of a minnow net that she’d chewed her way out of. All that remained was a little fashion statement tied around her neck. I’m hoping that she can be tamed enough for me to cut it off before the end of the summer. Chipmunks, after all, need to breathe.
Houses, too. When Mike and Mike arrived to check out the sagging floor, they explained that to me and so we’ll be working on getting some more air flow through our old, wheezy place. It is the newest item on our To-Do List from Hell. If you have a cabin, you probably have your own list so you know how this goes. Check an item off the top……add an item to the bottom. It is penance for trying to own property smack in the middle of Nature.
And so, I ponder that chipmunk and our damp spot next to the river, gaining perspective about what matters and what really doesn’t during this awful month of images on the evening news of tiny Palestinian children in hospital beds and body bags in Ukrainian farm fields. I’m grateful that the biggest problem I have, at least this week, is trying to figure out how to coax a chipmunk onto my lap to offer a little humanitarian aid of my own.
Humbled, once more, by the enormity of my many blessings as one of the luckier members of the Human Race riding a planet that seems, of late, so randomly cruel.