Of Squirrels & Spruces-A Midwinter Tale

Wild, Abandoned reflected on the active energy present in nature during the winter solstice. Near the eve of the Hibernal Solstice, here’s a vignette on a very near winter world & the relationships of plant and mammals. Neither of the varieties of both hibernate, it seems. In fact, there is a highly energetic relationship between squirrels and conifers in winter.  The property I live on is nothing more than a small conifer orchard which includes six pines and firs small and large to the east and west of a house.  Now, pinecones are everywhere.  They make wide amber colored blankets of bracts which can be seen on the winter days when the snow is gone.  It’s squirrels at work of course.  They eat from the bottom up of these cones and drop the hard-shell exteriors of the seeds. I think they prefer to strip the armored cones of the fifty foot plus Red Pine to on the southeast corner of the property.  The seeds are the prize, under the scales, and they must be sweet and nutritious. They leave a vast field of middens (as these are called) on the now straw-colored bluegrass.  Here, they don’t need to bury the cones in the late fall for recovery in winter.  The trees are productive and simply don’t drop all their cones.  Those are the trees, by the way, that retain their green on the outside, even as they’ve halted the production of pollen.  I’ve often wondered why there is a steady drip of sap from the trees in the winter as well.  I’ve learned this to be, again, partly the squirrels’ work.  They have tapped the tree for the elixir that apparently nourishes as it gives them the energy to run amok. 

Published by Vincent Hostak

Vincent Hostak, vmh, is a writer, podcaster and filmmaker. His poetry has appeared in Sonder Midwest, Tejascovido and the Langdon Review of the Arts. Vince is Executive Producer of Crossings-the Refugee Experience in America Podcast.

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