Monday, May 23, 2011


Every day is a gift.  Some days are precious,  some pretty and some quiet.  Today presented silliness.  My six year old West Highland Terrier-Poodle mix (we have fondly dubbed her a Groton Terrier), Reilly, is descended from hunting dogs and vermin catchers.  The instincts must have skipped this particular little pooch. 

This gray morning, Reilly and I headed out to our terraced backyard for a quick constitutional and check of the pool area.  As we strode down the deck stairs to the upper yard, we approached our lovely old rock wall.  It curves along a hill and serves as a retaining wall extending from the gargage foundation down into the backyard.  It stands about five feet at its highest point and is loaded with nooks and essence is it the nicest chipmunk condo in town.

Anyway, as we hit the brick patio at the base of the stairs, I looked down at my little friend who was frozen in mid-step.  She stared intently at the wall.  I looked over and there looking back were three chipmunks...Alvin, Theodore and Simon, I suppose.  I saw them, they saw us, but Reilly was fooled by their camouflage. They were sitting very still, surprisingly so, as I moved closer...but the mutt stayed put.  Then it dawned on me that there were not three chippies, but five!  So, Chip, a wee baby had poked its head out of one of the holes in the wall and here come's the silliness:  hanging by its front paws from a branch of my beautiful Japanese Maple was Dale.  Apparently he'd been foraging in the nearby bird feeder when we interrupted his snack time.  The others seemed to be holding their collective breath and he held on for dear life. 

After severals minutes of this stare/stand/hang/ off, Chip squeaked and ducked into the wall...that's all it took and Reilly shot off around the rock wall and up the hill in pursuit of scrambling Rodentia.  Alvin and his pals ducked into the wall or nearby vinca vine.  Dale baled.  He dropped to the ground below and ran to the left of the viburnum as Reilly tore around its right side.  All of a sudden, there were chipmunks chip-chip-chipping all over our yard.  The dog was snuffling through the newly spread bark mulch and pouncing every few steps into the vinca.  Finally, she returned to a secluded spot under the leafy viburnum and stood watch.  I was still standing on the bricks, not five feet from the rock wall when Chip poked out again, up and over a few holes from whence I first spotted him.  He chipped a challenge to Reilly.  I made the better offer however..."Come on Reilly, let's go get Emily and a cookie!" That's all it took for her to bound back up the stairs. 

As I climbed up to the deck, I looked over my shoulder to see Alvin and Theodore back up on the top of the wall...we agreed silently, same time, same station, tomorrow.

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