Post Storm Ali we have assessed the garden damage. The sunflowers were badly battered and those beds cleared for spring bulb planting. Which is not just a clean up job, but putting in fresh compost and manure into the raised beds  There are planted that need to be redeployed into other parts of the garden, or divided, and potted on to be shared. There are herbs to be harvested and dried. Seed heads get gently shaken into paper bags for next spring.

We lost three trees in the storm, which made my husband particularly mournful this morning. But there will be more planted. This acre is a wildlife haven in wildish West Cavan. Where, it seems, at least to my husband, that even the hills were moved by Storm Ali. He is sure our neighbour’s hill looks taller and closer today. But these things can happen when you live in a mythic landscape.

One bit of wildlife in this part of the world is the red squirrel. Ten years or so ago it was highly endangered being out-competed by the American Grey Squirrel. It’s range had retreated to west of the River Shannon, which is where our acre is situated. It likes a combination of conifer and deciduous trees, which we have in abundance. It has made a comeback and I feel it is a totem for this region.


The acorns are not yet ripe.

I checked the hedgerows yesterday.

Though mushrooms are in full forest bloom.

The peas and beans have long since had their best pickings.

Apples stored, seeds dried, tisanes made,

herbs for the pot and to scent the sock drawer packed away.

The hunter and gatherer

we call forager these days

is still strong in the DNA.

Just like the red squirrel who visits us,

who prays over his peanut lunchbox,

we stow away the leavings

at this season’s ending,

future seed

to begin anew.
Copyright 2018 Bee Smith

3 thoughts on “Squirrel

  1. To begin anew – reminds me of Brendan Kennelly’s poem BEGIN where he says “Forever we begin again”. We need to keep reinventing and rejuvenating ourselves and our lives, the search for meaning never ends.
    I’m hoping to harvest something worthwhile in verse soon. I’m like that squirrel ” praying over his peanut lunchbox”

    Liked by 1 person

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