One day Wishy wasn’t his usual “chipper” self.
“Are you sad, Wishy?” the teacher asked.
“Yes. I wish that summer would last all winter long!”
Summer in Maine is a beautiful season. The teacher wished it would last longer, too. She knew not all wishes can come true even though they are nice to have.
Excerpted from Wishy the Bookworm Chipmunk.
Although Maine will not become an endless summer, one of my dear wishes has magically come true!
Wishy and Chippie’s passing left a huge void in my heart and home. Chippie no longer sat out on the deck railing waiting for Wayne to come home from work. (Did I ever mention that? She would come out from under the deck about fifteen minutes before he was due to pull into the driveway). I no longer had a chipmunk like Wishy that came running when I called him, would jump on my lap and let me pet him and photograph him posing next to my vintage goodies.
Claude, who is quite likely one of Chippie’s spring babies and recently moved into her burrow under the deck is a lot like his mother. Like Chippie, he will come out when I call his name and will take seeds sitting next to me, but he is so skittish that I can’t pet him. While he’ll tolerate my camera close-ups he’s not a ham. Like mother like son. (Ok, so I am unsure of Claude’s gender, but I did pick a nice gender-neutral name!)
I’ve been missing Wishy’s sense of adventure and love of attention from me and my camera. I wondered if I would ever have that kind of friend in a chipmunk. I wished with all my heart to have a wild companion like Wishy once again. And then, suddenly, a new-to-me chipmunk ran from across the yard and to my feet! It looked up at me. Without being able to explain how I knew I could, I bent down and pet him. He did not run away. I gave him some seeds and then watched him as he ran back across the yard into the greenery.
When Wayne got home I told him about how thrilled I was but couldn’t figure out what was happening. Did Wishy come back from beyond?!
“It’s not Wishy but it sure acted like him.”
“How can that be?” he asked me.
“I don’t know, but I do believe in magic. Don’t you?”
And in that moment we both did believe.
The next day the chipmunk returned, and again like Wishy, he ran to my feet and let me pet him. I named him Buster.
When you get to know chipmunks as individuals you learn that they have differences in their appearance and unique quirks, traits and behaviors. Wishy was a seed tipper: When I brought out the plastic canister and let him eat directly from it, he used lean on it and tip it over allowing the seeds to spill out. Buster has a different, some might say more elegant but less efficient approach that you can watch here. I find both methods equally charming!
Like Wishy, Buster seems to enjoy experiencing non-traditional chipmunk seating…
…as much as taking advantage of nature’s offerings. I felt true joy when I saw that Buster also likes to sit on the same lilac bush where Wishy spent time surveying the land.
However Wishy didn’t curl his tail around the branch like Buster does.
I realized yesterday that Buster is now living in Wishy’s burrow!
Buster has taught me that the spirit of true friendship can’t be destroyed when it lives on through us and we are willing to love anew in a world where certainty and safety simply can’t be guaranteed.