Being a “town” girl all my life, moving to the country involved many surprises. The first years of our marriage my husband and I lived on a little three acre plot on the banks of the White River. We had many unusual experiences there before moving into the middle of a forty-acre wood, subsequently purchasing more acreage surrounding the initial purchase. Our experiences in learning to live in the backwoods would fill at least a book or two, but for the moment I am thinking of our experiences with flying squirrels.
One Christmas morning we were awakened by a little clicking noise. It was still dark and so I just listened and tried to get the direction of the sound. Finally I could not ignore it any longer, turned on the lamp, and finally located our little visitor. An inquisitive flying squirrel was sitting on the curtain rod just looking around, unconcerned with us. What to do? We decided to try to open the glass door and then I got a broom to try to direct its pathway, having closed the door to the hallway so it would not escape into the rest of the house. My husband then went to the side of the squirrel and coaxed it toward the door. It did not try to run. It would walk a ways then look down at us, then walk a little more, finally easing out the door into the night. That has happened again a few times; once we discovered it on a bookshelf in the den, just looking around. That was a little more of a challenge to get him to the door, but it was successful.
Since they are nocturnal creatures we rarely see them outdoors, apart from their nightly appearance. They seem to be creatures of habit. Every evening, just about dusk, as the whippoorwills begin their stirring call, we hear scrambling little footsteps on the roof of the deck, just like clockwork. Shortly one squirrel will peer over the edge of the roof, then sail off and glide to a tree several yards away. They always sail from exactly the same point and glide exactly the same direction.
One year we had several bird feeders hanging from the beam above the deck. One evening we were waiting for the nightly squirrel gliding, and suddenly there were such antics, as you could not imagine. They were trying to glide down the wire to the bird feeder… round and round they went, one would almost make it and another would scramble down and bump into the first and go tumbling on to the porch rail. We could barely see them in the growing darkness, but their huge eyes glowed like miniature moons. Finally they tired of that and moved on. I am glad it is beginning to get a little warmer in the evening so that we may sit outdoors and continue watching for these little furry neighbors. It is a gift to be given opportunity to witness the delicate detail and the unique personality of one of God's special creations.