An Open Letter to My Former Neighbors
Dear people who moved away,
Boy, am I glad you’re gone. For years I watched you hand feed squirrels on the fence we shared. For years I had to instill a deathly fear of squirrels in my petless toddler children who thought these squirrels were so cute. My kids became preschoolers who became gradeschoolers while you hand fed generation after generation of wild animals that then came into my yard expecting similar treatment from my family.
Now that you have been gone for a year, the squirrels seem less aggressive. Now that my kids are older they can stomp or hiss at those squirrels and they will run off instead of come closer. Some of the younger squirrels just stay away all on their own. Now that you are gone, perhaps I will not find a bag of peanuts dispersed in all of my pots and flower beds when I plant annuals on Mother’s Day.
You see, squirrels are not pets, they are wild animals and rodents. They are part of the circle of life, the food chain, and they (like our resident foxes and rabbits) should be very afraid of human beings, not expectant of them. The squirrels certainly should not try to steal my children’s toys or chirp at them for treats. Squirrels, like prairie dogs and chipmunks (I hope you’re listening the visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park) can carry not just rabies, (which none of us wants) but the bubonic plague. Have you ever been to Europe? Have you seen the catacombs of major cities filled with bones of plague victims? Sure, we can fight and cure it now, but no one wants plague, or rabies, or really any kind of rodent bite. They don’t need your food or misguided benevolence.
So, people who moved away, I’m glad you’re gone because my son just told me he’s going outside and when a squirrel comes in the yard he might tell me about it but he won’t panic over it because the squirrels are seeming to breed out your influence and return to the way they’re supposed to be.
The Lady in the Blue House