By Riverdave Owen

December 13, 2012


Two red squirrels crouched upon a limb

And watched the man below

Extend his arms and wield an axe 

With ever stronger blow.


One asked, "Who is this scruffy man    

Who saunters out from town

To whittle down our sapling pines

And force them to the ground?"


His mate said, "Rumor has it now              

That he's a mystic soul                                  

Who wants to live a border life                      

By our clear water hole."                              


"But why would he," the former asked

"Disturb our piney grove

Would it not seem more sensible

To find a church alcove,


And kneel and pray his heart's desire

Without an axe to grind

No tender trees to sacrifice

No wood chips left behind?"


"They call them transcendentalists"

His mate said, with a sigh,

"They often seek secluded spots

To gain a natural high.


But you have raised a valid point    

That he and all his band

Of berry picking naturalists                    

Should clearly understand.


We red squirrels often pay the price                      

For their experiments                                                          

That camping trip or ecolodge                                  

Can lack of reverence.                             


The former asked, "So what now then 

Can we expect from him

Who rests upon his fallen log 

And hums a quiet hymn?"


"Perhaps a modest cabin built"

His mate said, "with decor

Of bricks and boards recycled from

A shanty of the poor.


Such life of true simplicity

Might lighten his impact

And give his neighbors back in town

An essence to extract."                                      


"And what makes you," the former asked,

"So confident up front

That such a novel lodging might        

Not be another stunt?"


"A natural philosopher,"

His mate said, "in this case             

Could reconcile humanity  

To our brute rodent race.


Who else is duly qualified 

Of menfolk that we know                

Except this Concord native son

Henry David Thoreau." 



Photo by Riverdave: red squirrel gazing down at the tree cutter ...