I awaken 

before first light

this morning

the sky was blushing

turkeys gobbled

in the woods

and the cardinal’s

poignant mating song

burst open my heart.

How I hope

he knows

how painful

it’s been

not to feed him

caught as

I have been

in squirrel hell –

Pulling in feeders,

leaving the chickadees

hungry –

the doves confused.

I’m so angry.

We shoot all 

our predators here

so none are left

to stop insidious

 invasions – coyotes

and bobcats are

too scarce.

Mink and weasel

 lose habitat

daily –

the forests

are shrinking

 rodents remain.

Climate change

assures me

that winter

will no longer

 be a season

of brief respite

from rodents.

Brutal freeze-

thaw makes

Winter Sleep


even for


Every year

I begin

this season

of burgeoning light   

 with hope,

seeking only

peaceful co –existence

But end up here.


forced to trap


squirrels not just

to feed birds

but to stop

razor sharp teeth

from gnawing


 cabin walls.

It’s only March.

Am I supposed to

allow the rodents

free reign? 

Last year mice

gnawed through 

the roof

raced through

the house unimpeded,

while squirrels

dined outdoors

fattened to obscenity.

I hear turkeys 

gobbling the woods

but because

I cannot feed

them I will miss

the spring display

unless I intervene

 to redress

such gross


All I long for

is to discover 

a way for

those of us

who aren’t

invested in gluttony

to live in harmony.

It is not lost 

on me that

the squirrels 

I struggle

to control


a culture

whose dark



insatiable greed, 



self indulgence,


 Fat Men

and squirrels


Interfering with nature is not a practice I seek to embrace. Nature always redresses imbalances eventually. The problem here is that I won’t live long enough to see this rodent rampage come to a natural end, and so with great reluctance I begin to trap these animals in order to keep them out of my house and to allow birds – a multitude of species that we are losing at an alarming rate to man made pesticides and climate change – to feed. 

I am deliberately removing these animals, behaving as a natural predator would in an unnatural situation. I do this with the knowledge that human interference has created the situation I live with and that I am now participating in it actively.

This knowing is deeply distressing to me.

I am also aware that I may temporarily reduce the squirrel population but it is so inflated by the current hunting practices that what I do makes little difference. 

It is also obvious to me that the squirrel rampage is reflecting a destructive attitude prevalent in our own culture – the problem of human greed has resulted in the deaths of vulnerable species, the takeover by others, and the massive threat of climate change.

Nature and Culture mirror each others behavior. I am always observing the parallels. That we are One seems obvious. 

3 thoughts on “Conundrum

    1. Oh Tom, coyotes are hated in Maine – pure projection – i’m quite certain so we no longer have a lot of night howling – occasionally a coy wolf hunts here and I’ve had a bobcat visit BUT nothing takes care of the damn mice – who are much smarter than I am – I do know they are dangerous – I am hoping that getting foundation work done will make it harder for them to get in. Ugh! Thanks!


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