“It’s the Circle of Life.”

“It’s just the circle of life” feels like a hollow platitude often stated without emotion, like you’re supposed to just “get it” and move on. A life with an open heart is not that way at all. Nature is healing and cruel, beautiful and brutal, mysterious, indifferent yet in tune with a Divine Force. It’s only when I’m alone with nature that things feel like they serve a purpose while this crazy, human-dominated civilization filled with nonsensical tragedies doesn’t seem to at all. I grieve at the reality that hawks eat chipmunks. One took sweet Buddy the chipmunk in front of my eyes two years ago. I think I cried for five days almost non-stop.

It’s one thing to know something and another to have involuntary traumatic proof given. Of course it may only be traumatic to those of us who are “overly sensitive” individuals, especially when there are baby chipmunks involved.

Miss Ricky had two babies last week and it was then that at least one hawk made it a mission to take them for a meal. A couple weeks earlier I witnessed a hawk attack a crow in my woods as two other crows chased the hawk away to protect their buddy. I love the crows who generally chase hawks away and alert all potential victims of a hawk’s presence.

Can’t the hawks give us all a break? Why can’t they feast on black flies, ticks and mosquitos? While that would seem nice, it would be terrifying if “science” decided to “engineer” hawks to do such a thing. They are altering genetics of species in other ways which frankly terrifies me more.

I’m at a point where I actually do accept on all levels this “circle of life” but that doesn’t mean that I like it or don’t question Upper Management. My two acres of woods beyond my backyard is as wild as Vegas, and what happens there stays there unless it flies over my house with a meal. There are so many real and ongoing threats to natural wild places that it’s a form of worship for me to protect this small space for all of God’s citizens. However, I will NOT look the other way, turn a cheek or cheer nature’s design when it comes to my named chipmunks living close to my house. I will do everything legal, moral and ethical to protect my known chipmunks from a hawk attack. It’s no different than having a pet or a flock of chickens. It’s a no-dining zone.

In the past I have scolded, clapped my hands, and screamed at them to vacate but used less gracious terminology with a thick New York accent. I got a bit cocky as they seemed prone to be easily shamed. Having a few words with them was always followed by the hawk flying away. What a feeling! A fleeting fantasy.

Lat week while opening a package in my sunroom I saw a hawk swoop down on my deck where Miss Ricky had been sitting on the rail! I saw the hawk’s empty talons so I knew it missed. But that was the first time I had witnessed a hawk coming so close to my house. The chipmunks sounded their alarm to one another, a slow cluck-cluck-cluck that sounds a bit like a dripping faucet.

It was not long afterward that I saw Miss Ricky take a leaf in her mouth, something they usually don’t do until the fall as they gather their bed “linens” for the winter. What was she doing? You can see the leaf stuffed in her cheeks in this photo:

She placed the leaf next to her burrow entrance. But why?

It was when I saw one of her babies peeking out that I realized Miss Ricky’s brilliance. Chipmunk babies spend many hours over a period of days gazing at the world from their burrow before they eventually venture out. By placing a leaf there it closely resembles a baby chipmunk head! She was trying throw off the hawk by creating a camouflage effect:

Wayne and I thwarted an attempt on the babies when we returned from the flea market Sunday morning. The two were in our driveway when I slowly pulled in. As they ran under Wayne’s car and we got out of mine a hawk swooped down, missing them, and flew into a tree. We walked over to the tree and looked up as it stared us down. I did my usual “get outta here” but this hawk apparently wasn’t phased one bit by my going NYC on it. Fine. I told Wayne to keep an eye on it and I retrieved the bubble wrap I had in the sunroom for such an occasion. I held the flimsy plastic bubbles and popped one assuming it would startle the hawk. It totally flinched! Slightly. It did not fly away as my tinnitus soared from the loud pop. Well played, hawk!

I have a series of photos with it giving us different looks, all communicating various forms of what are these idiots thinking? At least we were distracting it from the babies. Then I had an idea. I’ve read in many places that hawks do not like shiny things. I ran into my house, grabbed my handheld mirror, ran back out and held it facing the hawk. I worked! It flew away!

Later I saw the babies, Miss Ricky, Randall, Clarice and Gretel, so all were accounted for in that one fleeing moment of time. I do not know about five minutes after that or five minutes from now. I and the chipmunks will go on loving life and living fully balanced with a healthy hypervigilance. It’s the way of the wild.

4 thoughts on ““It’s the Circle of Life.”

  1. Appreciate your efforts in shoo-ing away the hawk to protect the chipmunk babies, you have done your part being the superior species 🙂 Loved reading it! Certain things are beyond our control, so it’s only right to move on..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Maha. It has taken me a long time to get to this point of acceptance while moving on. I’m not always good at it but I know that I don’t want to squander this precious life worrying about things I can’t control.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s all the more easy for you to move on, as you put in efforts to do whatever you can to protect the wildlife around you. Keep doing whatever you can, because you are definitely affecting the lives of the little wild around you in a good way.

        Liked by 1 person

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