I love nothing more than a entertaining, well-written essay on squirrels. And Brian Doyle of the Lake Oswego Review has done just that – and what a fun read.
What starts out as a rumination on how entertaining-yet-irritating backyard squirrels can be (“To see a Western gray squirrel wolfing down a garlic bagel at dawn is a remarkable and arresting sight..) turns into a essay on how, when we let our imaginations wander, we humans begin to wonder what squirrels can’t do. They are probably the next species of animal to rule the world. If we don’t make it through the global warming disaster, squirrels will be there, ready to seize control. Perhaps evolving back into their giant predecessors.
Doyle turns his focus on the alpha-male squirrel of the backyard, named Tub. (“This inquisitive mammal, the Tubster, the Tubnacious One, is the bravest and most curious of his clan –he bounds up on the porch, skitters hilariously into the house, accepts nuts from the hand, perches on windowsills to peer in at chaos and hubbub.”)
And it all goes downhill from there. I can already see the flags flying, a giant nut emblazoned across the flags, hoisted high by the Squirrel Global Alliance. Perhaps Tub will be leading the alliance.