In a sandy bank, along the road to the old home place lives a prosperous and prolific woodchuck family. Members of their clan have lived there as long as I can remember, chewing the grasses and wild strawberries along the gravelly edges of the pavement.
The original burrow has been passed down through the years, starting with a great-great grandfather who warned his heirs of the dangers of moving away, encouraging them to dig beneath the protective walnut tree. He stressed the merits of staying in the same neighborhood and remaining vigilant of the cars, trucks, and tractors that rumble by.
But, oh, the arrogance of youth.
Some grandchildren met their maker under the decks of my brothers’ homes; a son came to a sudden end along the perimeter of the vegetable garden, while a stubborn sister was silenced homesteading beneath the old stone walls of the hay barn.
They should have listened to the wisdom of their elders.
Late summer I see the offspring every time I visit my mother. They are plump and healthy looking, scuddling into the grasses as I pass.
There was a prosperous colony there before I was born, and their descendants will likely thrive long after I am gone.
Their persistence and tenacity from generation to generation make me smile.
It’s a Fine Life
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I have always loved reading animal stories and imagining their life. My mother used to read “Peter Rabbit” to me. I read from a similar collection to our grandchildren at bedtime. Timeless little tales.
This was my favorite book as a child. I think it was in the book-of-the-month club my mom subscribed to. The little squirrel lives for a time in a dollhouse. What child hasn’t imagined that?