After living in these woods for five years, I had thought I had seen just about everything nature would throw my way. I have seen four foot snows dropped in three days, rain torrents that last for weeks without more than the briefest of breaks, and winds rattling the tree tops around me in a cacophony of sound. None of these can compare to the three furiously driven squirrels that have made their home in the trees surrounding us this summer.
Each spends his days collecting coniferous cones in preparation for the long winter months to come. Sometimes they will sit low in a tree, skillfully stripping each individual scale off the cone and leaving a shower of debris on the ground below them. Inevitably, one will stray into the other’s kingdom of branches and a chase begins. They spiral around a tree trunk in frenzy, their little claws making loud scrabbling noises on the bark, until finally the intruder escapes with a daring leap from one tree to the next and jauntily scampers away.
All this would be very entertaining to watch were my nerves not raw and my eyelids heavy from yet another morning awoken by the piercing voices of these very same critters.
Sleep. The nectar of life when you have CFS. Without proper sleep life slowly grinds to a halt. On a daily basis you will see your projects decline, needed tasks sit half finished while you start walking around in a zombie stupor of sleep deprivation.
With the first hint of dawn of the horizon, all the squirrels of the forest wake and greet each other with an intensity unlike any other. You can hear their greeting sweep through the woods, an approaching wave of chatter breaking the silence of night as it crests upon my sleep and continues on. As if by their very cries they could banish the night and bring in another day for gathering.
Never before have they woke us up like this day after day.
I am a semi nocturnal creature by habit and by need. The squirrels are strictly creatures of the light and they make sure to drag me into the new day with them every morning during their daily greetings of the new dawn. My flimsy tent window does nothing to diminish their voracious cries.
Oh how I long for the days when I will be able to once again sleep past day break with a secure knowledge that nothing shrill will be shouting at the tops of its little furry lungs, ”GOOD MORNING WORLD – STAY AWAY FROM MY TREES!!!”