Every sunny day beginning mid-February I’ve been looking outside my kitchen window for a sure sign of spring: a chipmunk on the deck. Our three friends, Claude, Buster and Sunny had not been seen since a couple of days after our wedding in September. The neighborhood chipmunks went underground much earlier last fall than the year prior, when they were out and about until November and reemerged in February/early March. Even at the boatyard a few towns over Wayne reported the same: no more chipmunk sightings by late September and none to date. So instead of going into a burrow for three months, it’s been SIX!
Last week I noticed what appeared to be a large bird in my woods. I walked closer and saw that it was a hawk. Hawks eat chipmunks and are not welcome on my property, especially when they are dangerously close to Buster’s burrow at the edge of the woods. In animated NYC fashion I told it to get lost. Perched on a branch up high it watched my little performance, and when I was finished it flew away. There! I showed him!
Around 1:00 a.m. I heard a delicate sound that seemed like it was by the bedroom window; it was very faint and dainty and not the kind that implies danger. It was actually somewhat soothing and I drifted off into a surreal dream: I was outside at nighttime and saw a strange creature under the streetlamp. It was the size and shape of a chipmunk and had a deer-like face. I got out of bed at 4:30 (my usual time) and was pouring coffee when Wayne said from the bedroom: “Averyl. Come here.” I saw he was looking outside the window and he moved aside so I could see.