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Boreal Community Media

SUCH A SHOW! - A piece by John A. Bragstad

Feb 20, 2023 11:45AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Ana Paula Grimaldi 

By Author John A. Bragstad - Boreal Community Media - February 20, 2023

It is a bit of a hangover season here along the North Shore of Lake  Superior. The soft snows of January have turned to an icy crust. The promise of the holidays is over. It is a time of waiting for many. 

But, at this improbable time, there is also novelty. We watch more closely now how the sun has shifted at sunrise. We might take time to count the deer grazing through our yards. We carefully note the ebbing birch and maple in our woodshed. 

But I have especially paid attention to the squirrels that occasionally overtake me at my bird feeder. I am much more aware of their magnificence now that the season affords me time to study them. 

I recommend anyone take out their iPhone and turn it into slow motion. Watch what happens when you observe them with so much more recorded detail. 

I have never noticed their front paws, like children’s mittens, but they can fully grasp any sunflower seed and turn it. 

I marvel at how they can sit on their back haunches and that these same legs can pivot so adroitly on the railing of my bird feeder. 

I’ve noticed their whiskers extend out far further than I ever would’ve guessed. I didn’t know they even had them. 

At this suspended time of year, I wonder why squirrel’s eyes are framed in white and, I think, how perfect for giving their faces character and charm - especially since their mouths are so small.

And, in that slow-motion retelling, I watch as sunflower husks are scattered, one way and another, and there seems to be no time to swallow. 

All this, but the Big Show is in the trees. I see mostly their shadow moving from one branch to another, from one tree to another, as though it was a paved highway. I don’t see how they can do that with what I know of branches. 

And then, of course, they travel down as if there is no care and chatter, occasionally, at the deer, claiming this is their property. 

February affords us time to think, to reconsider, to observe, to marvel, yes, to wonder at the antics of squirrels. They are so common. But, when you consider, are they not acrobats? 

And each day, we have tickets never paid for but some of the best seats in the house.

About John A. Bragstad

John A. Bragstad has been a therapist, working with couples and individuals, for 25 years. He is self-published and is enjoying retirement. Lake Superior is just off his front porch.

He has written three books: Compass Season, Loon Laughter at Midnight, and Who's Watching Whoo? They are available in Grand Marais at Drury Lane and Lake Superior Trading Post, or at

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