Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wintering


You may remember the chipmunk I have been watching throughout the autumn, the one with the Beatrix Potter home under the roots of a white pine tree. During November, as the weather cooled, he took to blocking up his door with wood chips on the coldest days. Then, when the temperature went up again, out he came to continue stocking his larder with pine cone seeds.

Now, in the heart of December, he seems to have retired permanently for the winter. The chips are piled high and thick at his door. I see no sign of harvesting.

I wish I could make myself small enough to crawl into his house and see what sort of accommodations he has in there among the roots. A bedroom, a pantry, a place for feces. A mate? Never saw one, but who knows.

Apparently he has gone into a state of hibernation, lower body temperature, slower heartbeat and breathing. Wakes up every week or so for a nibble, then back to sleep. Unfortunately, I won't be around during the first warm days of February when he pushes through the wood chips and embraces the sun.

And now it's time for me to do my own hibernating, on my sunny southern island. I'm away early tomorrow. As usual, I have no idea what I will encounter for the internet. I'll be back when I get back.