A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2008, vol 4 no 1

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Jeff Winke


Nature Field Notes

It’s downright eerie. I’m sitting on the deck of this house I rent here in northern Wisconsin woods.  No sounds except for an occasional bird call. There’s a wild turkey out here gobble-gobbling, which is very Thanksgiving-like.  Too bad it’s April. Holy cow, now some truly pissed-off little red chipmunk-looking squirrel is chirping madly and flicking its tail all around. He’s making quick spastic movements and is staring right at me with its beady black eyes. I don’t know what I did to irk this fur clump, but the spitball has it in for me. My first thought was to go back inside, but then I thought – ‘no, I’m on a man-made structure here, it’s not like I just pissed on a pile of his acorns.’ He’s still chirping and flicking his tail all about like some kind of spastic. So I stand to my full height and growl back at him “Simmer down chump, go take some meds.” He retreated a few feet, so I think he got the message. You see, that’s what I don’t like about this nature stuff. I’m sitting here minding my business and suddenly I’m thrust into this whole man vs. beast conflict thing. This forest rat is jammering at me like I’m driving a Caterpillar in clear-forest mode through its space. I just want to co-exist and enjoy the silence but this mutant spawn – half chipmunk, half squirrel has a nasty attitude. Now, that’s probably not being fair…I shouldn’t get down on his heritage. As far as I’m concerned, the forest is like Vegas – what happens here, stays here. So, I’m O.K. if squirrels occasionally get frisky with a chipmunk or two. Love is love. The poor little guy—he’s probably teased a lot for being an inter-species half-breed. ”Ahhh, come back here little guy….I’ve got some peanuts – they’re Cajun-flavored dry roasted…look, you don’t have to mess with the shells.”

            wheeless bicycle
            to a STOP sign