This little cutey has taken to teasing and taunting my dogs. Ruby and Emmy wait for the chipmunk to scamper up on the deck, fully anticipating that they will be able to catch her.

Emmy on the left and Ruby on the right. In the center is Oliver, our daughter’s dog – who catches chipmunks at the horse farm where he spends most of his days while she is working….

But alas, the dogs are confined behind glass, or screen, and the chipmunk seems to know it. Oh sure, she runs off whenever the dogs bark at her (which is often…oh my, so very often….) but she also comes very close, dangerously close if it were not for the sliding glass door. She comes to help herself to the pitcher of bird seed that my husband stores on the deck – a partially full, two quart pitcher…and the chipmunk just plunks herself right down inside the pitcher and eats to her heart content. Until the dogs bark. And then she’s gone, faster than lightening.

I know people who despise these little ones. People who tell stories of how they have  rid their yard of them with traps and cats and other cruel devices. We don’t do that. I keep thinking of Terry Tempest William’s book, “Finding Beauty in a Broken World” and her reflections on the value of prairie dogs. Many people in the west find prairie dogs to be a nuisance – their cattle and horses catch their hooves in the holes breaking legs, they “damage” property and cause all kinds of “problems.” So the ranchers and farmers get rid of them by poisoning their nests or shooting them.

Turns out, when they get rid of the prairie dogs, the land turns to dust. Nothing can grow. The prairie dogs are crucial to the homeostasis of the ground. Their holes aerate the land and help to keep the soil healthy, which enables the grasses to grow which feed the cattle and horses.

So. I’ll take a little annoyance from the chipmunks. They certainly are in higher population this year than they were last – but I suspect something will come around and reduce the population – a fox or a coyote, or something. Nature has her ways of maintaining balance….


About Terri C Pilarski

I am an Episcopal priest serving a delightfully progressive, interesting, creative congregation. I have been married more than half my life to the same man. We have two grown children, plus two dogs and two cats, although the number of four legged household members changes from time to time. I love to garden, knit, read, and play on Facebook or with my blog. I have been a practitioner of daily meditation since I was nineteen. I practice yoga five days a week and walk every where I am able too.
This entry was posted in balance, chipmunks, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, Terry Tempest Williams. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Balance

  1. Lisa :-] says:

    You have chipmunks, I have squirrels. And I think they are a hoot. A yard without some kind of "yard pet" is a bleaker place, indeed…

  2. Gaye says:

    I have greater difficulty feeling charitable toward the rats that climb down the chain on my bird feeder and make off with most of the seed, only to retire the to roof of my office where I can hear them gnawing out a nest.When I lived on Long Island I loved the squirrels even though most of my neighbours thought they were pests.Love the pictures, especially the dogs.

  3. Terri says:

    Okay, Gaye….my generoisty would probably end with rats too….ick. We do have a brilliant squirrel who has figured out how to get around the anti-squirrel elements on our bird feeder and help herself to the seed. She has the nerve to dash off to the safety of the nearby tree and then "yell" at us when we appear – and interrupt her meal. She's hilarious.

  4. Terri says:

    Lisa, we have squirrels, too – but they don't dig holes in the ground, rather they live in trees – so less of a hazard or nusiance to gardens…

  5. checking in to see if you've found balance this week, or rather it has found you?right now we've got baby squirrels on our street, lots of baby rabbits, 4 downy grey baby owls… the blue jays, and luci & ricardo the 2 garden snakes out back. (i thought if i'd named them, i'd be less surprised by them.) bwaa haaaa

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