I’m home from work today. If you ever doubted that the human body is 60% water, the norovirus will remind you. (And what a fitting end to 2013.)
But I’m up now, for a few minutes anyway, watching the squirrels in the tree outside my office window. I’m not sure exactly what kind of tree it is; I had thought crab cherry but that’s not it. Those have pink blossoms and these are white. That’s moot at the moment. What matters is that there are a bunch of little, bright red berries all over the otherwise bare branches and the local squirrels cannot get enough of them.
There are currently three squirrels loping around the tree, gorging. I’ve seen as many as five. I’ve been watching this show for a couple of winters now, and the pattern is the same. In the early winter, they climb around on the biggest, most stable branches and get the easy berries. But as the winter goes on and those are picked over, they have to go out and test the thinner branches to get their meal.
Life is pretty good for these suburban squirrels. Not a lot of predators (other than cars), not a lot of competition, and plenty of food. I’m sure most of them succumb to coronary artery disease. Watching these chubsters swing and sway on the tiny branches that can’t really hold them is a hoot.
The other thing they do, as the season wears on and the berries get really scarce, is get shitty with each other about them. They’ll knock each other right out of the tree. Vicious little bastards. Some fall and run away, some come right back up to fight or test ever flimsier branches.
The reluctant pistachio
You know those pistachios that don’t have any cracks, so you can’t bust them open? That shit is hard enough to use as anti-tank weaponry. Can’t get at the good part. So you (“I,” not “you,” because you aren’t like me and that’s your good fortune) decide to take a pair of channel locks and squeeze that sumbitch open because you (see above) are feeling like you’ve lost all control of events in this universe. You (ibid) are going to own this fucking pistachio, see? Everything else is spiraling wildly out of control but you will have salty, green nut meat because your species has evolved to use tools and you have a basement chock full of them.
So you get in there, pieces of diamond-hard shell flying to corners of your workshop that will remain unexplored until you move out of this frigid hellmouth 11.5 years hence, and you retrieve the delicious, just-right nut from the remaining flakes and brush off the metal filings and grease from the pilers.
And that nut—so hard won, so eagerly anticipated, so satisfying in its new nakedness between your fingers—tastes like rodent ass because the impermeable shell didn’t allow any salt to get in there during the processing stage.
This seemed deeper when I started.
It’s 100% true; it all really happened. It’s also lately about more than the sea.