Emboldened by my success last year in predicting, very unscientifically, a tough winter in the Southeast, I shall sally forth once again.
This time, however, I will cast aside acorns, squirrels and electric blankets–my previous predictors–in favor of (drum roll here)… chipmunks.
I spotted one in an oak tree the other day. Now I’ve lived here over 20 years and never seen one of the little varmints in a tree before. Usually they just race around on the ground waiting for their manna to fall from heaven (or an oak tree).
So, I figured the critter must be desperate if he (she?) can’t wait around for the annual acorn monsoon. Perhaps it senses something we don’t, such as an early onset of winter, although I suppose, not necessarily a severe one.
“Hey,” I yelled at it, “what’s up with the foray into the tree? You expecting an early winter?”
The tiny rodent, its cheeks puffed out like it had OD’d on Botox, just stared at me.
“Come on,” I said, “what’s the inside scoop?”
Finally, it spit out some nuts and said, in a squeaky little Chipmunk voice, “Look, dude, if you want the inside scoop, check out the zonal index and PNA, don’t bug me.”
“Yeah, thanks for nuthin’, Alvin,” I responded. Probably one of those smart-alecky Penn State meteorology graduates, I figured, and let it go. But I still think it knows something we don’t. Me? I’m banking on a cold wave and maybe some snow in these parts before November is out.
Oh, and I recently read something about Chipmunks I didn’t know before: that their memory span encompasses only about three days (which, according to my wife, is two-and-a-half days longer than mine). Thus, after three days, they forget where they buried their loot and dart around in a tizzy digging up everything in sight trying to unearth it.
Which explains why my flower beds look like the aftermath of a mini-B52 raid at this time of year.
Well, I think I’ll go check my antifreeze. I’ll check the stuff in the car, too.
Photo: A chipmunk at work.
At least this one’s on the ground. And probably not a Penn State grad.