Wild Life

By Barbara F. Dyer | Oct 15, 2020

There is wild life in Camden.

On a branch road off a major street there is a quiet place where five bird feeders are placed out front. The birds frequent it only when the squirrels and chipmunks leave. The greedy squirrels easily go up the pole, and get their mouths in the tiny holes of the feeder. When most of the food has been eaten, the furry visitor does acrobats. After jumping from a nearby cedar tree limb, he hangs by his tail to get to the lowest hole and remains until he has had his fill.

Three poles with feeders were placed there for the birds, but the agile squirrels can leap from the trees to the top of the feeders and easily hang by their tails. When the squirrels leave, the chipmunks work their way to the feeders. The birds come only when the furry creatures leave.

Much effort has been made to make it more difficult for the squirrels to eat so much, by greasing the poles with Pam. But they are much smarter than I and I have to admit it. When they get their feet dirty enough, they know they can get up the greased pole. Then the chickadees, cardinals and other birds wait patiently in the cedars until the squirrels have left, and they then jump from the trees to the feeders.

Well, they all have to eat; the bird feeders are a buffet, and then they make another buffet when the feed is spilled on the ground. "Pretty Kitty" does not eat her food after it has been in her dish for an hour or two; she prefers it fresh. So I toss it by the feeders and it is eaten by the "wild lifers." I never dreamed I would be dealing with the squirrels, chipmunks and birds, but this is all a part of my daily retirement activity.

When I planted those cedars, about 60 years ago, I was young and I thought they would be a small barrier from the road, but I should have known that trees grow. They were about two to three feet tall when they were first planted. My best friend, Barb Carver, went with me into the woods and helped me choose several small cedar trees, which we then brought back to my house; she helped me dig holes for them, and they were permanently planted in my yard.

Now, in what seems to me to be a short time, they are about 30 feet tall or taller. Yes, trees grow.

The street that we live on (me, my cat, and the wild life outside) is quiet. It is so quiet on most days that I can count the number of cars that go by on just one hand. There are a few people who walk their dogs and a few who walk just themselves. There are several hours of the day where I see only the wild life outside my window. It is hard to imagine that I live so close to the center of town, only about 1/2 mile from Main Street and yet there are days when I feel as if I live on an island in the bay, or at the top of a mountain in the deep Maine woods.

My neighbors probably think "she is for the birds" and maybe a little "loopy." Not yet, but wait a little while because it could happen. Because of the way our daily routines have changed due to COVID-19, my social life has been dramatically different. I see the wild life outside of my window more than I see people. I have learned to adapt, but perhaps some of my conversational skills have suffered slightly. I talk to the birds, the squirrels and the chipmunks, but they don't talk my language so most conversations are one-sided. The same is true for television watching. I try to choose programs that are entertaining and educational, but they can be few and far between. This week I watched a tennis match, until the sound of the ball bouncing on the ground became annoying. I also find that I will verbalize a thought during the news programs, but they can't hear me, so I give up. I return to the wild life outside my window and the "Pretty Kitty,” who lives with me and demands attention. I am happy to give her all of the attention that she wants.

I hope that when life returns to "normal," whatever that means, I will still have some conversational skills. Right now, I feel confident that I could still talk to anyone about anything.

I thought and thought in vain.

I finally thought I would sign my name!

But that is not enough, (life is tough)


Barbara F. Dyer has lived all her life, so far, in Camden and is the official town historian.

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