25 January 2009

Nothing lost in translation

Do squirrels speak Spanish?
Or, perhaps more importantly, do the people of Colombia, South America, speak Squirrel?
The answer, most assuredly, is "Si."
During a monthlong visit to that country, my friends Rich and Luis traveled, visited Luis' family, and took pictures of everything - squirrels included. Apparently, the South American nation that practically deifies the humble java bean also apparently gives an admiring nod to the bushytailed denizens of their trees.
Squirrels get their name, or at least their profile, in lights during the Christmas season, and Rich was thoughtful enough to capture this image of a Christmas squirrel before the glowing rodent clambered up a holiday lightpole where, no doubt, he was building a nest made entirely of incandescent lights and LEDs strung together.

Then, on a visit to a place outside Medellin, they found a restaurant known as Pescadero Trucha Arco Iris (or "fishing place" for a type of rainbow fish) which was furnished with tables and chairs hand-painted by local artists. The chair pictured here would obviously be a place of honor for the squirrel-lovers among us. (It's not clear, however, whether that would obligate one to order something from the menu featuring acorns, nuts or berries.)

Squirrel decor, both indoor and out, can be downright chic. Imagine if the modern furniture designers, Charles and Ray Eames, had been rhapsodic over rodentia. Imagine if the evolving designs of Frank Lloyd Wright had gone through a "Chipmunk Phase."
It is encouraging to think that while some people view squirrels as pests, annoyances and even vermin, others see them as inspiration.
No matter what you call them - and in whatever language you speak their name - they can leave an image buried in your imagination long after you have seen one scamper across your path.
But then, they're good at burying things, aren't they?


Anonymous said...

I know you haven't looked at my original comment about the she-squirrel making a nest on my window sill. OMG, there are TWO squirrels! Yikes in Dallas

squirrelmama said...

I hadn't seen the original one, no. I'll look.
TWO squirrels! Likely there are even more.....WHY oh WHY do they have to nest in such precarious spots?? You are going to be a nervous wreck over this!

Richard said...

Si senorita, you did a good job on the squirrel (ardilla) story in Colombia.

Anonymous said...

Don't they always nest in high places? Will this be worse? In this case, it's a second-story brick ledge, well protected from rain, with a voluminous vine covering a good third of the window. They have used trimmings from the vine to construct the nest. Dallas

Darren Daz Cox said...

aww!! How excellent!!!!
we need more cool squirrel appreciation blogs I say!

squirrelmama said...

Sheltered from the elements is very good, yes. Second story is actually pretty high up for them - anything 20 feet up or more is good, though I have seen newly released juvenile squirrels nest inside a trumpet vine running along the top of a 6 foot stockade fence (ours!)
I would just encourage you to watch for tumbling down, which the young ones are at risk for once they get to 5 or 6 weeks of age and become precocious.

Anonymous said...

Will do. So, um, assuming she's pregnant, how long till they start, um, hatching? Dallas

squirrelmama said...

Gestation is 45 to 48 days after conception. So their "hatching" (LOL!!) could come as early as late January/early February (in the northeast, where we are, that is when we start seeing eastern grays).

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks for this very interesting post and the pretty pictures.