The Squirrel in My Life: A Story of Affection and Survival

  It was approaching lunch time, and I was peeling apples by the sink under the north window of the kitchen. Alongside the kitchen window is a small balcony facing north. Beside the balcony is a tall Du Ying tree. Suddenly, a gray lightning flashed across the window. Suddenly, the lightning swept into the Duying tree like a whirlwind and turned into a rustling sound.
  I knew it was that guy coming.
  It always first leaps from the eaves somewhere outside the window into the dense shade of the Duying tree to hide in order to detect the situation at the scene. This so-called “site” is where I feed it every day. At almost this point every day, it comes as promised. It knows that I am going to eat fruit, and it is expected that its portion is right in front of me. When it was lurking on the tree, I put the peel and enough pulp in a small bowl, opened the glass door on the small balcony, and poured it on the outer eaves of the wall. However, this clever ghost did not show its head at the moment. It had to wait until I entered the house and closed the balcony door. It no longer concealed itself. With a swish, it rushed to the food, holding the peel or pulp with its two front paws, and kept eating. Open your little mouth and enjoy the food. At this moment, when I raised my phone to take pictures inside the glass door, it behaved quite cooperatively. It held the food with both paws, and its long smooth tail swayed from time to time.
  Sometimes it looks from the front, sometimes from the side, and sometimes it stops moving its lips. It stands upright, with its long tail covering the top of its small head, allowing you to take pictures as much as you like.
  There is something so weird that you may not believe it. Once I was driving back to my hometown. At a highway fence thousands of miles away, I saw a squirrel looking up at my car from a distance. It looks very much like the one I feed every day. Its fur color is grayish brown and its belly is reddish brown. The expression was as if my relatives were welcoming me home, and they continued to look at me for no less than five seconds. Could it be that the squirrel knew that I was going to travel a long distance, informed its species, and expressed gratitude or tribute to me along the way? This subjective sentiment of mine is, of course, ridiculous. However, since then, I have given it another piece of my heart, not only leaving more pulp for it, but also sharing precious walnut kernels with it from time to time. The squirrel’s sense of smell is really good. Even if it is not in front of me, if I put food in it at this moment, it will definitely appear the next moment, as if it appeared out of nowhere in an instant.
  Squirrels are very sensitive to people’s every move. Once they found out that I was about to open the glass door of the small balcony, they immediately got into Du Yingshu’s arms, which made me very jealous. You said that the Duying tree can only provide it with shelter from the wind and rain, but I have been feeding it for nearly two years and it is still growing like this. But when I think about the scene of the little squirrel being chased with my own eyes, I feel that it is excusable. Once, I saw a fat and fierce blackbird with a yellow beak and black clothes. It screamed and pounced on a little squirrel that was eating. In a hurry, it clattered against the narrow eaves of the wall and disappeared without a trace in the blink of an eye. Another time, a little squirrel that was eating happily was unexpectedly attacked by a long-tailed magpie. Although the other party did not issue a war cry, the squirrel seemed to smell the attacker’s breath and quickly escaped before the other party could get close. When escaping, it actually waved its big tail and swept away all the remaining food, leaving its opponent to stare at the dust of the bushes downstairs and sigh. Whether it is intentional or not, I regard it as the decisiveness of the little squirrel.
  Squirrels not only have external worries, but also internal ones. One scene convinced me that squirrels are also hierarchical, just as there are strict hierarchies within a wolf pack. Once, while a squirrel was eating, another squirrel came, about the same size as the previous one. At this time, an amazing scene happened: the squirrel that came before saw the newcomer, immediately jumped onto the Du Ying tree, and remained motionless and silently crawling on a branch. Its brown fur was similar to that of the Du Ying tree. The brown branches blend into one, and unless you look carefully, you won’t be able to spot a squirrel lying there. Even if you did, you would think it was sleeping there, but in fact it looks dead. It wasn’t until the predator had eaten its fill and left that it jumped up from the branch and rushed to the food that originally belonged to it. Sadly, the newcomers didn’t leave even a single scrap for it. The poor guy sniffed the vomit of the same kind with his nose, then looked up at the glass door of the balcony, turned around and left angrily.
  Unfortunately, it couldn’t find it. In fact, I just stood inside the glass door and watched. As soon as it turned around, I opened the glass door and put some oatmeal in the place where it was fed, hoping to give it a little surprise and comfort its hurt heart.

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