My Morning Visitor

I look out the front door every time I pass through the foyer from one side of the house to the other. On many a morning I spy my little friend, Chip, sitting on the bench outside. I have tried several times this week to get its photo. It disappears so quickly that sometimes I wonder if I imagine these visits.

I finally got its photo this morning. It is cold. We had frost. My friend moved more slowly than usual.

I am glad to have evidence of these visits because something happened here. I do not know for sure, but I fear some human put out poison. My gardens used to have many little friends darting around as I worked. Some of them got so used to me that they would stop and watch me.

Then one day this summer, they all disappeared. I did not see any for weeks. My neighbor and I discussed this. She would text me to report a sighting. We were relieved to see even one. Now, there are two or three at the most. I know there are at least two because one is very small.

They skitter across my acorn strewn deck filling their cheeks with the best acorns. The little one looks comical with his bulging head and tiny body. I like to think that the small one is the baby I rescued from the fish pond.

I do not put out food. That creates dependency. I do grow plants that provide food for them to forage.

When I see my visitor on the bench, I wonder if it remembers the Ground Cherry ‘Goldie’ that grew in a pot on that very spot for two summers. They would climb the plant and shake down the fruits. I enjoyed watching this trick.

This is one of the joys of gardening, the visitors that come.