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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Egypt and Squirrels are my passions

The revolution in Egypt has completely rocked my world. I thought about taking pictures of the extra clutter that mushroomed in my house the last 18 days while my whole life was watching trusted (not network!) news shows and reading blogs from Egyptians who were in Tahrir square. So obsessed, that my 450 some friends on facebook barely commented on my multiple posts about what was going on. I imagine that many clicked 'hide this person' beside my posts.

During my hearts and minds involvement in the revolution, the one small act that calmed me most, was feeding the neighborhood squirrels. Every day I provide a daily smorgasbord for the squirrels on the ledge of my deck railing.  The ritual started soon after I moved in four years ago. At first it was sporadic. The one constant was that I gave them fresh water everyday in the large dog bowl on the small table by the ledge. There are lots of feral cats in the neighborhood, as well, and as rough as their lives might be, I didn't want thirst to be one of their tortures. Even on winter days when the water was frozen, I would find that some courageous critter or two had licked a groove in the ice with their efforts to quench their thirst. So, another part of my winter wildlife buffet became popping the ice from the dish and filling it with hot water to prolonge liquidity.  Then about a year ago I began the never-miss-a -day food line-up. As far as their usual diet, I found they really liked the corn tortillas I buy in bulk. My recent Celiac diagnosis makes the tortillas my easy bread substitute. Soon I added blueberries that were too flaccid for my taste but were succulent morsels for the squirrels, and on and on.

Recently, I found out that Whole Foods sell squirrel and wild rabbit feed!
It was a great price, too! It cost $6.99 for five pounds of crunchy peanuts in the shell, sunflower seeds in the shell and hard corn. Other stuff too but those are the ingredients that come to mind. I bought a bag and enthusiastically created a tiny mountain range of feed around the wide railing for them. The cats and I watched from the window, hoping to see surprise and maybe delight on their little faces. Best I could tell, they were mostly confused, and if I stretched my imagination a little, the word disappointment came to mind. They politely crunched a couple of the peanuts in the shell and delicately considered the sunflower seeds. Mostly they seemed to be looking around for the fare they had become used to over the years. From that day on I only supplemented their usual banquet with the plebeian 'feed.'

How do squirrels tie in with the magnificent fact of the new hard-fought Eqyptian freedom? I think it comes down to the sense of impotence I feel about wanting to help peace come to the planet. Yes, I called the White House every day to ask them to support the Egyptians in any way possible; I called my senator with the same plea. I encouraged and expressed my love on Egyptian blogs and websites. But my hands buzzed with the emptiness of all they couldn't do.

My nurturing of the squirrels might be just a small act of something I can do, substituting for all that I can't do out there in the vast world. 


  1. You are so cool! The world is a better place with you in it!

  2. I love that Wholefoods has squirrel feed, amazing! and more amazing the victory of Tahrir Square. Sally