BY JOHN HALDANE
Copyright is held by the author.
THIS IS a very hard world I find myself in. The seasons change so drastically from too hot to too cold — I am seldom completely comfortable. I must spend much of my time just concentrating on my survival.
The cold, dark time is coming. I can feel it in my bones.
And I’ve been lazy and spent too much time running, playing and eating. I don’t have enough food stored in my home.
I must work hard now — make many trips to find and store food.
I must work quickly but also avoid the evil things that swoop down from the trees and snuffle along the ground. I hide under a bush or behind a tree when they come. They would kill me if I wasn’t so quick.
Others of my kind are sniffing around my home looking to steal my food. I must chase them away — make them think that I am big and mean and will hurt them if they don’t leave.
Good, they are gone.
I am lonely, but I can’t trust others — so I must remain alone and protect my home.
I remember when the cold, dark time turned light and warm. The female called me and let me chase her for days — finally letting me into her home. That brief togetherness was fun. But then she bit me and chased me away and I was alone again.
No time to think . . . must work hard — find food — store food and do it all again.
Oh, I’m getting slow and sleepy — sleepy and slow.
Do I have enough food? Will I survive the cold, dark time?
Oh, it’s so cold and I am so hungry.
I think I have a little food left. Where is it? Where is it?
Oh no! Now I remember, I ate the last of it before I went back to sleep the last time.
So hungry and so cold!
I must go out to find food, but it is still so cold.
Well, it can’t be helped, I must go out.
First I have to unblock the doorway. Oh, I am so weak and the blockage is so hard after the long cold, dark time.
Yes, at last the blockage is gone.
The Brightness! It hurts my eyes. Can’t see, can’t see.
Ah, that’s better, now I can see. And, it’s not too, too cold. Yes, the sun has a little warmth in it.
And I can smell food. Where is it? Where is it?
Yes! Yes! There it is. Food smells are coming from over there.
Oh, such good food! I must eat fast and then take some back home with me for later.
Work quickly, work quickly. Before anything evil comes.
I am still weak, but starting to feel better.
I hear something — Run! Run!
“Look mommy, I see the first chipmunk of spring. Oh, and he’s been into our picnic basket, the little devil.”