I was feeling rather sorry for myself, having missed both Rainbow Stage productions this summer. Then I realized I have a nightly performance going on right here, where I comfortably sit in my screened-in porch.
First, there's Wayne the gray squirrel. Funny how a close-up view of Wayne reveals that were it not for his fluffy tail, he'd look just like a rat. Yet thanks to the tail, he's totally adorable. And nimble? He gallops along the fence or overhead wires at breakneck speed, flits between trees faster than you can say "dog," and occasionally stops to hang upside down just because he can. Showing me the proper way to eat a pine cone, he parks himself on the woodpile not eight feet in front of me and polishes the thing off, as quickly and untidily as a teenager with a cob of corn. Interesting thing about Wayne. One day you see him squished dead on the street and the next day, he's running along the fence again.
Then there's Bonnie the Bunny. She shows up only on rare occasions, but she owns the neighbourhood with her certifiable cuteness. Her salad bar, otherwise known as my garden, is none the worse for her visits. She's a polite little thing, daintily nibbling only what she needs for the moment and moving on.
Maury and Maureen, the pair of Mourning Doves, are a sweet couple who nest here and hang around just until their little ones are ready to take off. Don't tell them I said this, but it seems to me their heads are too small for their bodies. Then again, their Designer came up with millions of models, each beautiful in its own way, so who am I to judge? And the shimmering rainbow gray of their feathers would make the most fetching mourning dress ever! Their cooing is tremendously comforting, and I always miss them when they go.
The stars of the show are our very own Chip 'n Dale. They are red squirrels and proud of it. They can chatter and scamper as fast as any chipmunk, maybe better. I assume they're still adolescents, but they are anything but awkward. We've seen them chase each other up and down a tree, circling around it so many times I get dizzy just watching. When that gets dull, they vault to the roof of the neighbour's garage where they roll together into a tight ball. They spiral down until just before they hit the edge, then leap back into a tree and start the whole circuit again. No worry about obesity in these kids.
Who needs show tickets? I've got one in my own backyard.