The Trampoline


     Ray Burkart

Autumn is on the way.  Leaves are turning colors and the wind is nudging them from their branches. They float lazily to Mother Earth, giving our grounds crew a little extra work. The natural evolution is completing one more cycle. Hot and humid days are fading, and my Monday golf is more likely to happen without cancellation due to the weather.  Along with Spring, it is my favorite time of the year.

My patio is a great place to read, watch/listen to the birds and observe salamanders, toads, tree frogs, butterflies and, on occasion, a big Black Snake as they use it as a highway to get from one place or another. Hummingbirds love the nectar from the flowers in my hanging plant. Our local deer seem to enjoy eating my flowers and sometime bring their little ones along for training on how to choose the most succulent ones.

It is a mystery to me on how salamanders, tree frogs and even small snakes manage to find their way into my villa.  I search for openings and fail to find any.  Fortunately, after a bit of chasing and an on-target throw of a towel, I managed to rescue most of them and return them to the wild.

A few days ago, I was engrossed in an Alexander McCall Smith novel and enjoying the bird songs, when right above me, there was a very loud thud on the awning.  My immediate thought was an overhanging branch from a tree next to the patio finally succumbed to the wind and had fallen on the awning. I got up, walked out and looked at the top of the awning to see how big the branch might be. To my surprise, there was nothing on the awning. It was completely bare. As I pondered this mystery, my eye caught movement on the tree.  There he/she was, one of my many resident squirrels. Ah ha! A picture emerges. The squirrel had jumped from the roof and used my awning like a trampoline to bound over to the tree. I just hope it does not teach all the other squirrels how to do it and spoil my solitude while reading on the patio.

Those rascal squirrels are very busy gathering and storing nuts in order to be prepared for the season to come.  It is fun to watch as they chase each other and make, what seems to be impossible jumps, from one branch to another.  The trampoline jump must be new diversion for them.