Once upon a time in a big tall juniper there lived a Mommy and Daddy squirrel who loved to eat nuts that grew on any tree. Mommy and Daddy squirrel were so healthy and fit that they could walk the power lines across the neighboring yards and lots.
Daddy squirrel was able to detach acorns from the Cromley oak with a quick snap and carry it back to Mommy in just thirty seconds.
Not to be outdone, Mommy could do the same thing in just twenty five seconds.
Daddy and Mommy were so happy in that tall juniper that they decided to bring new life into it. After all, a squirrels’ life is so speedy and happy that making new life just seemed to be a part of it.
Three babies came in February, and Mommy and Daddy padded the nest inside of the juniper so it would be lovely and warm. The infants all looked the same, almost blue and slick, and Daddy and Mommy quickly named them “A, B, and C.” Please don’t be discouraged by this, Alannah. Most squirrels are so fast they can’t be bothered to think of names for their children – in fact Daddy Squirrel’s name was “1” and Mommy’s was “Beep”.
Anyway, Daddy and Mommy were so happy that they had babies! They started gathering even more nuts than they had before. It was amazing to see them: darting back and forth along fences, tightrope walking the power lines. Zip, zip, zip! They gathered and fed, gathered and ate, gathered and fed….
All day long – and they loved it.
Soon the babies grew fur and opened their eyes.
A and B wanted to go out with Daddy and Mommy to go find the beautiful acorns and nuts, but they said no. Daddy and Mommy yelled and screamed and chattered so much that it was easy for A and B to see that leaving the juniper would be out of the question.
Baby C had no such desire to leave the nest. C was happy and warm with her blankie and binkie and was so satisfied to curl up and sleep all day long. The only time she ever got up was to eat the nuts that Daddy and Mommy brought home.
“Why don’t you get out of bed, sleepy head?” A asked her one day.
“What for?” C yawned. “All you and B do is look out of the leaves and wait for Mommy and Daddy. I’d rather sleep and relax.”
A and B shook their heads at each other and said that their sister C wasn’t much like a squirrel. After all, squirrels were fast and busy. C was slow and lazy.
A and B passed their time in the nest by learning to watch for trouble. In between they would play games in the nest, which disturbed the sleep of C sometimes.
One morning, Mommy and Daddy woke up and bolted out the front branches to find morning nuts. A and B watched them, chattering goodbye as they left. Baby C fell back asleep until she was awakened by a sickening scream – coming from the big white cat that lived in the Rodriguez house!
Daddy had been cornered by this cat in the yard and was tangled up in the netting around the raised beds. The big white cat had Daddy cornered and helpless and A and B were so frightened that they couldn't even squeak!
“What is it?” C asked, bolting out of bed. She made her way to the front window and looked through the leaves to see the terrible scene in the garden. Daddy was thrashing about, tangled up in the netting and the cat was walking in slow circles around him.
“Where’s Mommy?” C whispered in terror.
A and B were frozen with fear, unable to answer.
“We should go down there and help Daddy!” C whispered louder. She could see A and B shaking with fear, not moving at all. It was then that C knew that she must try to rescue her father herself, no matter the danger!
With great bravery, C stuck her head out of the juniper and looked around for Mommy. Outside was cold and windy and Mommy was nowhere in sight. C took a deep breath and ran down the side of the tree, clumsily clawing its sides.
She could hear A and B chattering from inside the nest. They were screaming “Don’t go! You’ll get in trouble!”
As soon as she hit the soft grass in the Rodriguez yard, C could tell that the cat had seen her. Instead of circling Daddy (who now looked over at C in hope and desperation), the cat began a slow hunter’s crawl toward C.
“What should I do now?” C thought to herself, sweating profusely. Without thinking, she ran down the length of the house. Her heart was beating heavily in her chest, but the wind was in her ears and C felt free and powerful, racing toward the fence.
As soon as she reached it, she clawed her way up, and looked down, to see the breathless white cat looking up at her. C was so happy! She had run across the Rodriguez yard and had beaten the cat to the fence. Without much chance to celebrate, she looked back at the netting and was surprised to see that Daddy wasn’t there. Was she looking in the right place?
Suddenly, C heard excited chattering from the other end of the yard. It was Daddy and Mommy, standing in front of the juniper tree - waving their arms at her and chattering for her to come to them!
But now C was afraid. The fence she was standing on suddenly felt so high and unstable. What if she fell? The cat was there, waiting to tear her apart into pieces!
Mommy could sense the apprehension and ran toward C, deftly navigating the distance of the fence line. As soon as she reached C she yelled and screamed and chattered: “Didn’t I tell you not to leave the nest? What are you doing on this fence? Where did you learn to climb like that? What a great job you did running across that yard! Follow my tail and don’t look down!”
With that, Mommy turned around and ran quickly back to the nest, her fluffy tail high in the air. C followed closely behind, going a little slower than Mommy because she was gripping the fence so tightly.
Soon, they were in front of the tall juniper and Mommy and Daddy scaled the tree quickly. C tried to follow them, but scaling the tree was harder than the fence. It was filled with unpredictable things. Soon, C was in the nest, next to her Daddy and Mommy and her sisters (whose mouths were wide open in shock).
“What made you do that?” Daddy asked.
“You were in trouble!” C answered.
Daddy and Mommy looked at one another and smiled a secret squirrel smile.
“You’re right, C!” Mommy chattered. “We squirrels help each other when we are in trouble. No matter what the danger is!”
Instead of getting yelled or screamed at, C was able to receive a small bit of encouragement from her parents, before they raced out the door to collect more nuts.
Instead of following them, C curled up in her bed with her blankie and binkie – she had had enough excitement for one day.
That night, I’m happy to say, C stuffed herself with sunflower seeds and acorns from the stash that Mommy and Daddy rarely broke into. It was a celebration dinner in the nest and C was a hero instead of the lazy baby.
So, Alannah, you can see that in this story there are three lessons: 1.) Squirrels always help each other when they are in trouble; 2.) In every lazy squirrel there is one who is destined to fulfill a calling of adventure that she has on her life; and 3.) there is something very special about being in your own nest again, with your blankie and binkie! You see, my sweet girl, this world is filled with adventure and fun and a lot of unpredictable things. At the end of a long day, a good warm place to sleep is our reward.