19 November 2012

Nuts to this parade!

Macy's annual Thanksgiving pageantry of floats and fancy footwork is no match for a certain timeless backyard promenade. It's a longstanding tradition of parades that, over the years, never mandated any holiday be declared before the personalities readily queued up, marching with perfect precision: Sumo, Almondo, Mr. Tilty, WhiteSpot, Balducci, Little Notch Ear, Silas Marner, Sunshine, Calypso, The Brothers Grimm, Sylvie and, the very first, Scoiattolo.

Frankly, Spider-Man, Snoopy, Kermit the Frog and Papa Smurf - all of them little more than cartoon balloons - prove to be New York City lightweights in the face of parade professionals such as these.

Linus and Charlie Brown, prepare for the deflating news: Squirrels not only have their feet on the ground, they've got their paws right down in the dirt. They're the only marching band in the procession of time that we really need to mark the passage of another season. After all, if Thanksgiving is a time of bounty, who knows more about harvesting and putting things away for the winter than those who measure their steps outside our windows and doors every day?

Sorry, Macy's. Let retail madness come and go with the shortest days and longest nights of the year. Some of us prefer to take our chances with bushytail madness instead.

09 November 2012

No rationale for rationing

In the spectrum of epic power struggles, Obama vs. Romney wielded all the energy and intensity concomitant with high-voltage politics: Sparks flew, tempers flared and fuses blew.

But in the northeast, people have already unplugged from that temperamental circuit of ego and agenda, focusing instead on a more day-to-day power struggle, one measured in the kilowatt-hours that animate homes and businesses and in miles-per-gallon for vehicles. Or perhaps not being measured: A superstorm and trailing nor'easter left nothing behind for tens of thousands in the region but a cold, dark void.

It is preferable and simpler, on such an occasion, to measure out one's days in squirrels. Living their lives off the grid, their momentum powered only by their own primordial engines, squirrels' comings and goings are a reliable constant in a world suddenly devoid of any human surety but deprivation.

Squirrels are small generators fueled by tree nuts and acorns, simple abundant energy that is "green" - after all, acorns and nuts are the genesis of trees. Gathering nuts requires no drilling, no hydrofracking, no windmills, no mining.

As "odd-even license plate" rationing takes hold for motorists to stem the region's gasoline panic, squirrels brazenly ignore the governmental directive and queue up en masse at the base of trees and at our doors and windows: There is no need for "odd-even" days to fill their larders. In any case, with squirrels being four-legged (most of them, anyway), the "even" days would likely produce pandemonium beneath the maples.

Nut power! It is what allows squirrels' super-fast metabolism to generate STUs (Squirrel Thermal Units) which keeps them warm even in sub-zero temperatures. (Should you ever hear their teeth chattering, be assured it is not because they're cold.)

The fuel giants, the utility companies and even the automotive industry need to hire consultants from Woodland Energy Enterprises and learn to harness the enduring power of nuts that will weather a hurricane, a tornado, even a so-called "superstorm."

Ask for some input from the next squirrel you encounter: Likely he'll gnaw on the matter a bit, but if you're lucky, he'll get back to you, saying, "Let's do lunch."

06 November 2012

Doing Election Day, Squirrel Style

The squirrels are back from the polling place. The lines, of course, were long. But when their turns came, they voted, as usual, without hesitation or ambiguity.

They know what it means to live in a Nutocracy. Whether one is a follower of Walnuts, Pecans or the fiercely independent Hazelnuts, squirrels value the right to elect the nut of their choosing.

Squirrels know that the dynamic of politics is, and always has been, the kind of shell game one can really sink their teeth into. These stalwart little citizens vote with their feet - lacking hands, they really have no choice, anyway.

And now, their Election Day duties done, they are back outside, begging for handouts. This is not Wildlife Welfare, however, nor government entitlement. It is their birthright as American Eastern Grey Squirrels to have free and open access to the fruit of America's trees. They constitute the swing vote, only in that they swing from the trees.

As the sun sets soon on Election Day 2012, and the nation faces change - or perhaps more of the same - I pledge allegiance once again to the squirrels, one of the few constants we can count on in a modern nation growing ever more distressed.

Never mind the blue or the red. I will always follow the grey. Long may their tails wave.