We have been dismayed and frustrated by the recent downgrading of the traditional American values, and by the consequential damage to the marvelous system of republican democracy, authored by our brilliant and prophetic Founding Fathers. We have previously written on the subject of our sitting president who, by reason of his ignorance and outrageous behavior, has embarrassed literate citizens, and has thoroughly confused the international scene; the latter, by making friends with our sworn enemies, and enemies of our loyal allies and old friends. His despicable behavior in the realm of sexual abuse, bigotry, or destruction of programs of welfare for our needy and disabled citizenry, constitutes an all-consuming, three-ring circus for the media; which has unwisely reported on little else. In a prior post, we warned against this preoccupying diversion, which seems to be attracting the totality of universal interest, thus enabling tactical, hard-hearted conservatives, by stealth and without public notice and outcry, to steal away citizen civil rights and delimit laws granting empathic assistance to the needy. We recommended active awareness of this tactical diversion

Unremitting frustration and anxiety, responsive to this constantly enfolding disaster, has motivated us when possible, to seek temporary relief. We have successfully sought refuge in the environment of the Connecticut woodlands, where we regularly have enjoyed  gardening and communing with nature.

There is a large population of chipmunks living on our property. These tiny denizens of the forest, relatives of the squirrel, have small, furry tails, shiny brown coats with attractive stripes running along the length of their backs, small heads with alert eyes and cheeks which expand, and are regularly employed  [akin to mini shopping bags] in storing prodigious quantities of food, such as nuts and acorns, for transport back to their respective abodes.

We attribute the significant chipmunk population on the property to the existence of a large accommodating rock garden [actually boulder garden) in close proximity to the country house. These boulders are the undisturbed remains of an excavation job years ago to enlarge the house. The boulders slope downward to the lower level of the property.  In addition to its utility as a large rock garden, in which selected plants, where possible, (spaces, inserted plant soil) are grown, we have been fortunate to have a communal society of these lovable denizens of the forest, living in the interstices of the boulders  as friendly neighbors.  These residential accommodations seem to be available to all bona fide chipmunks; most importantly the stone living spaces provide safety from predators. A great many chipmunk families live securely and happily in this boulder garden; which, in view of its shared residential use, we refer to as the “Condominium.” In recent years, we have noted the arrival and settlement in the Condominium, of a slightly different variety of chipmunks. These have reddish fur on their backside, in contrast to the older residents, which have brown and grey backside fur.

Because of our longtime occupation of the property, and familiarity, the little rascals seem to be unafraid, indeed, friendly to us, and we have had the opportunity to study their society and their entertaining interactions. We have observed them under our bird feeder, eating the fallen birdseed and stuffing their hugely expandable cheeks with abundances of uneaten food (“doggie bags?”) to transport home. We have seen them at play, competitively racing one after the other or running in circles of two or three, playfully tumbling and rolling over, and in participation in certain chirping game which we do not comprehend. We have been able to observe chipmunk society and the many aspects of their life, including, most relevantly, their interaction with other members of their furry society.  In these days of   frustration with the observed interactions between human beings, chipmunk life seems admirable, perhaps instructive. For practical reasons, we have summarized and listed many of them for easy, perhaps affirmative review:

  • The recent immigration of the red back chipmunks, children and adults, occurred peacefully and without any especial reaction from the traditional (brown back) residents; not even one “cheep” of resistance was heard. Moreover, both varieties continue to interact naturally and happily.
  • After chipmunks have eaten, they usually fill their expandable cheeks with food to, generously and responsibly, bring home sustenance for others, as well themselves.
  • In feeding or rough-housing, there appears to be no dominant party, no discernable “pecking order” which we understand to signify that all chipmunks are, truly born equal.
  • (3) Indicates that there is no chipmunk politics or need for political parties.
  • Chipmunks are united in communal joint defense; they are each look-out for the entire community, and will chirp an understood warning when a predator is in the vicinity.
  • Chipmunks are peaceful and sociable to each other; we have never overheard squabbles.
  • Chipmunk housing and residential accommodations are equal and unbiased.
  • All chipmunks live equally; there are no privileges, economic or life-style differences.

It takes only a momentary consideration of the above, to truly wish that the past election saw a chipmunk elevated to the Oval Office, instead of an Orangutan.

* Sincere apologies to John Steinbeck


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

2 thoughts on “Post # 260    OF CHIPMUNKS AND MEN*”

  1. John Steinbeck would enjoy this post very much I believe.

    This post is beautiful and, I agree, a necessary diversion. Meanwhile reminding us of how much better life could be with chipmunks, instead of orangutans, in office. (I do feel you, and now I, may need to offer an apology to orangutans).

    I love the shopping bags and doggie bag references as well as the generous acknowledgement of existence of The Condominium.


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