Stone wall chipmunks

I understand the thing about the goldfish now.

Out in my front yard there is a stone wall. It becomes one of those fairly well-formed retaining walls when it turns and follows the driveway to the house. But along the front, on both sides of the driveway, it has that old look. Round stones and flat stones, with gaps and spaces and a couple of places that appear ready to fall.

And it has chipmunks.

I don’t know how many are living there, but there is at least one on each side. I know this only because one time I saw two chipmunks, facing each other from opposite walls at the edge of the driveway.

A few weeks ago, I sat and watched.

I was having a particularly miserable day. Couldn’t focus on my writing. Had a honey-do list where every item was fighting me and taking twice as long to finish as it should. And it was almost time to head into the kitchen to make dinner. Having spent the better part of two hours fighting with a lawn mower that didn’t want to run, I sat down on the front steps.

A head popped into view.

Over about five minutes, we both adjusted our positions. I moved down the driveway and sat on the wall about twenty feet from the chipmunk. It moved to the top of the wall and then stood pretty much still, only occasionally turning its head. And for perhaps ten minutes, I just watched.

I’m not going to tell you I had some sort of tremendous moment here.

I was watching a chipmunk.

But all those stories of how watching fish in an aquarium can lower blood pressure suddenly make sense. Because I felt better after watching this chipmunk. I felt better for no reason at all.

And when my new friend dove back into the wall, I turned and went back to the house, to push my headache of a lawnmower back to the garage.

Back to the house with a new appreciation for smelling the roses and enjoying the quiet, little moments as they pass.

I take great pride in both of my four-legged children… Lady and Travis… the Labradors. Those of you that know her will be happy to hear that a very healthy Lady has passed her eleventh birthday. Travis is closing in on his sixth. When I come home from work, there they are… tails wagging, looking up at me, fighting for prime position for the welcome home head scratches. Every dog lover out there understands the “we are so glad to see you” tap dance that goes on. Makes for a great transition between the work day and the evening.

Makes a house a home.

I really don’t have much of a point for this essay.  I wasn’t sure if I would find one as I wrote it. I’m not sure that I’ve found one now that I’m almost done. But when I came home this evening and came around the corner into the driveway, a chipmunk sprinted under some leaves and over a rock.

And I smiled.

Then I got to the back door, opened it up, and was almost knocked to the ground by jumping dogs.

And I smiled again.

Right now, as I finish this, Travis is curled up around my feet, and Lady is in the bedroom warming up Tigg’s side.

Life is good.

And I have the chipmunks to thank for pointing that out.

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