Emma Jean ponders the meaning of her life, the wisdom of her choice of harvest yellow kitchen ware, and her decision to go vegan in the 1950s. Even her orange apron symbolizes something to her...but what?

Is there such a thing as too much self-reflection? After pondering this question for a while, I replied “yes” to myself and to Scrappy. He cocked his head and trotted to the kitchen, probably thinking I was offering him his dinner. Instead, I was offering myself a much-needed reality check. The supposed “squirrel-proof” bird-feeder I bought last year has become a metaphor for my life. Perhaps if I were an erudite eminent adequate unemployed philosopher, I could get away with turning such a ridiculous idea into a profound plausible   passable postulate. But I’m just a perceptive, probing woman with insomnia and a penchant for alliteration.

...and things will start to make sense until they don't anymore. That's either a symptom of philosophy or insomnia.

I bought a condo after my 26-year marriage ended. Making my own nest comfortable was my biggest priority. By the time autumn rolled around last year, I turned my attention to the exterior of my little home. I noticed small wooden birdhouses peppered along the fenced-in patio. They reminded me that I wanted a bird-feeder. Why? I missed my cockatoo, who died and wild birds reminded me my big, silly, captive one. I also felt badly for birds in the harsh winter months. Where else could they get sustenance except from kindhearted souls with full bird-feeders?

When I perused the well-stocked bird-feeder section of my local home-improvement store, I was terrified stupefied discouraged. Deja-vu incompetence arose in me. My ex-husband sends me to the hardware store looking for some widget. Hardware Store Man smiles wickedly and asks me some insane detail that’s not on the “that’s-everything-you-need-to-know” post-it note I’m clutching. I call Ex and go through “woman-as-hardware-challenged” routine. Flashbacks are haunting.

Bert and Ernie are just waiting for me to ask them for their help. My crumpled note says "sheet rock screws." But there are different sizes and quantities. Oh, screw it! I'll buy one of everything.

Standing before the flock of bird-feeders, I had no one to call. I was glad. I could make this decision. Hummingbird feeders were out; so were the contraptions over $100.00. Those two decisions limited my choice to 25+ different models. That’s when I noticed class warfare in the bird-feeder industry—“regular” feeders were low-class and cheap while “squirrel-proof” feeders were upper-class, sturdy, and, well, more attractive. Perhaps it was in the packaging. The regular bird-feeders just hung there, their limp construction virtually inviting squirrels to stop in for lunch.  The “squirrel-proof” bird-feeders sported packaging with pictures of brightly colored birdwatchers and birds, all happily gathered around the feeder while, off in the background, furtive-looking squirrels were looking over their scrawny shoulders.

That's the model I choose. Looked like a bird winner and squirrel loser to me.

Help us. Those acrobatic rats won't let us near those delicious-smelling seeds.

I picked a solidly constructed feeder that I could barely figure out how to get into.  Birds noticed it immediately; so did a gang of gray squirrels. They were swinging on it and throwing food like kids at daycare after cupcake time. I tried dome baffles, putting petroleum jelly on their path to the feeder, and mixing hot spices in with the seeds. The only thing that kept the squirrels away temporarily was sending Scrappy out to bark at them. They didn’t respect me, but they had a healthy fear respect annoyance of his terrier-ocity. Then Scrappy tired of this game and I was left with a squirrel-feeder while furtive-looking birds watched from a distance.

So that's their secret. Anyone know how to get some Kryptonite? Just enough to weaken them...

I learned three valuable lessons from this experience:

  1. Squirrels are smarter than M.I.T Engineering School graduates, are faster than a speeding bullet and can leap tall buildings with a single bound.
  2. Even Scrappy gets bored chasing squirrels because (see above).
  3. I’m obsessed with beating squirrels at their own game I haven’t yet mastered my need to control that which I can’t control (the Buddha is smiling). Thus a “squirrel-proof” bird-feeder is now a metaphor for my life…figures.

I know it’s time to address my squirrel/metaphor issue again. The days are shorter and cooler, and a squirrel just knocked on my window and stared at me.

Hellooo! I don't see my squirrel-feeder up yet. What gives, Missy?

This year, I bought a better another kind of squirrel-proof bird-feeder. I’m going to hang both up, meditate and see what happens. I’ll keep you posted…

By the way, there’s a blog devoted to squirrels right here at WordPress. I may be forced to check it out if my Plan B doesn’t work.

By the way way, I still think the squirrels are reminders that I need work on letting go. But those birds still need to eat when the snow flies. Scrappy agrees. Buddha, too.

I may have to resort to this. But when will I have time to blog? And I this position leaves me a little too vulnerable to a Super Squirrel attack.