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Old Grey and the Chipmunks

The Old Grey Squirrel and Young Chipmunks - Bravo Echo

There was a young squirrel who few knew around the acreage. He lived in the urban area where most knew him as Sciurus Carlinensis. His friends called him SC for short. He lived a busy life amongst other noisy and busy critters and non-critters. As he grew to be a young squirrel, the threats seemed to grow which caused him to worry about surviving from year to year. As the area grew and filled with large boxes which kept tall upright two legged beings inside, he started to realize he needed a new plan for his life. Part of his plan would be to relocate out of the urban area and change his name. His final conclusion to relocate and change his name came when things around the squirrel village was quickly changing. Nothing seemed the same and young SC had to learn fast and increase his protective measures by implementing his newly learned skills to separate himself from inside the village.

SC had never been overly active on the social scene but to survive, he, on several occasions, had participated in developing elaborate networks of tunnels and dens where SC and friends could socialize amongst like-minded squirrels. Another part of his plan would be to eventually relocate to a single nest away from 95% of any type of moving threat. This would change his past pattern from the tunnels and dens to the new single nest. He needed to adjust and change almost everything.

SC continued to learn and become wiser. He was in the eastern United States continuing to build his plan when he was accidently trapped in a cage. His noisy friends had been out collecting food and letting everyone know they were around. A tall two legged being put out a cage to catch them, but when SC snuck out after dark to collect food the trap snagged him. He was now the pet of a two legged upright being who kept him in a cage. They soon relocated to the southeastern US of A where the terrain was totally different. SC thought to himself, even though I am confined, I can still continue to plan. First step would be to change his name. He would call himself Grey. The new name boosted his spirit and he felt more confident. Next, Grey decided that he had to escape and get away from caged life. He knew that he was surrounded by so many changes to his life and ability to be self-reliant, that the threats could not be mitigated or defended. Grey was thankful his earlier mentors had raised him tough, even though he didn’t act it when around friends, he was able to identify pitfalls and vulnerabilities. These previously learned skills would be a huge plus, putting Grey ahead of a larger percentage of domesticated threats. He had heard his two-legged captor talking about a new potential rodent called chipmunks. All Grey knew of the chipmunks where they loved attention, hung out in groups, and made lots of noise to attract attention. This was not the group Grey wanted to be around or be associated with. They never seemed to work hard for food and would climb trees and poles to take seeds from the hanging feeders that moved and rocked when the chipmunks would raid the seeds.

As an urgent need that had been identified through Grey’s risk assessment, he now needed to put together an emergency plan to escape at first opportunity. When his new owner removed him from the cage while trying to domesticate him, Grey would remain quiet and watch for the right opportunity. Grey had become vigilant and an out of the nest kind of thinker. He was amazed at how much he could see and observe when remaining at a distance and watch others. He didn’t understand the mindset of the tall two-legged kidnapper but he was picking up on trends and how he thought.

Grey knew this was short term trouble because everything was predictable. He watched and allowed the two legged specie to use the same routine and pattern with Grey until it become a daily routine. Grey would climb around on the deck, up and down the wooden support beams, across the wires and so forth. Grey started gathering the supplies he believed he would need in the first 72 hours of his escape. His escape plan included multiple escape routes dependent on possible threats he may encounter. In and around the deck he hid seeds, nuts and straw out of site from his captor to establish an immediate cache. He knew he could stay hydrated during the escape getting water from plant roots and green plants. He also packed extra acorns, seeds, fungi and buds in his bug out sack carried in his cheeks. Grey reached a point where he trusted his plan since he had practiced it and had enough resources to survive outside the cage.

On the day of the planned escape, lots of commotion occurred near the large deck where Grey was often freed to enjoy his hour of freedom. Grey noticed lots of chatter and chirpy noises around the wooden platform. There appeared to be twenty-five or more small four-legged critters that the two legged tall captor called chipmunks. It almost appeared the singing chipmunks posed and provided a rhythmic sound the other chipmunks moved around too. The captor kept holding some sort of device up and a bright light kept flashing. It was loud too. The captor was occupied with this new excitement in another direction. Grey heard the word “launch” in his mind and immediately shot off the deck like his tail was on fire. Down the deck, across the grass, up the tree out of site of the deck. Grey peeked around the tree to see if the site was clear. Off again, across the limb flying tree to tree, down the tree and through a log. Stopping again to evaluate his surroundings, Grey caught his breath, scanned for possible threats and was off again. He eventually arrived to a point where he could no longer see the two legged upright being. His heart started to slow as he now started to focus on a new place to build his nest.

Grey surveyed his surroundings for a possible nest that offered maximum standoff from possible threats. He asked himself, “what risks” do I see? If I have to flee again, do I have multiple routes out of the nest?” He knew he would need to establish another cache of resources in the new direction he would flee. The old cache was in the wrong direction and towards the cage he just fled from. Grey had a lot of work to do and wanted to take it one step at a time but before the weather turned cold.

A few months passed and Grey was growing settled in his new home and surroundings. He was no longer threatened by the upright being with the cage; or, the noisy four legged things the being called chipmunks; or the large box looking things containing the upright beings that moved at high speed often picking off the chipmunks as they crossed the hard areas where no grass grew. Grey was convinced the chipmunks came from a different mindset the way they chattered and stayed in the open for everyone to see them. He had observed them earlier than the upright being when he watched the chipmunks from his cake. They would climb on to the bird feeders and eat away while dropping seeds all over the ground. Part of the cache built by Grey was the seeds he collected after dark when no one was watching.

Grey would chuckle while packing his cheek sacks full of seeds left by the chipmunks. He appreciated the noise they made to distract attention away to give him his getaway. He just could not understand how the chipmunks hung out in groups for everyone to see drawing so much attention. They appeared to enjoy the attention from the upright beings. On one occasion Grey recalled watching the chipmunks run back and forth across a wire running from a pole to the house. The upright being was standing by the cage laughing while holding what appeared to be a tree limb launching loud noises pointed towards the noisy chipmunks. With each pop and bang from the tree limb, the chipmunks would sing louder and run faster. It was a site to see.

As the seasons changed, Grey would always conduct an assessment of his “must have” resources to survive; acorns, nuts, seeds, green plant roots, and water when it rained. Grey had established a nest high up in a tree that offered an opening he could not only hide inside to get away from the elements and weather, but he also could use it as a listening post and observation post from threats. He had a great view across the acreage.

Grey would occasionally see other four legged beings transit under the tall tree walking and looking for resources. But, they didn’t see him. He blended in to the tree and surroundings very well.

Grey lived a long peaceful life away from the threats of his past. He had all the resources needed to survive year to year. Even though he was alone, he didn’t have to deal with all the other threats from the large majority of chipmunks or upright two legged beings. Grey knew he would eventually cross paths with other like-minded squirrels. His self-reliance had saved his life over and over again.

The moral of the story is…whether you are a squirrel, a chipmunk or a two legged upright being, you need to be as grey as possible and separate yourself from the other species that fail to be self-reliant. Are you self-reliant?


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