~ Columbian Ground Squirrel Tree ~

After dinner tonight My Captain, Critter, and I laid down together on the hammock for a springtime evening cuddle.  Darkness was nearly upon us, the Spring Peepers were peeping, the evening songs of birds in the woods around the little cottage filled the cool air.

Critter had gotten a fleece blanket at my request and the three of us, with Critter nestled in between, gently rocked as the sky faded from violet to black.

Looking up at the branches above, Critter remarked that the tree was shaped like a Columbian Ground Squirrel.  Not something you would expect to hear from a 10-year-old boy in Maryland……but whatever!  We’ve learned to roll with it.  The minds in this family are wired a tad differently.   And yet, as he pointed out parts of the tree, and explained their corresponding parts on a Columbian Ground Squirrel, by golly if My Captain and I didn’t see exactly what Critter did.  It DID look like one!

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That tree will now and forever more be known as The Ground Squirrel Tree.

After this epiphany, we were silent for a moment, each of us lost in thought, when suddenly Critter whispered, “Isn’t this just great?  Sitting on the hammock, being together like this?”

As I leaned over to kiss his forehead as answer, I glanced over at My Captain, just in time to see his face soften.

“Yup.” He answered to Critter in his deep, quiet voice.  “It is.”

He’s a man of few words, but I could see it in his face.  He’d been touched deeply by that boy’s innocent, pure, honest statement.

I suppose he never hears things like that at the firehouse.  Can you imagine line-up one morning, where coffee and man-talk reigns?  Can you imagine one of the big burly guys saying in his gruff firefighter voice, “Isn’t this great?  All of us sitting at the table, being together like this?”

….Yeah, I can’t imagine it either.

I guess that kind of innocence and honesty is more easily shared under Ground Squirrel Trees.

You know, I love that Critter will look back on his childhood and remember nights like these.  The swaying hammock, the peeping Spring Peepers, the fleece blanket….

….and being together.

It’s pure gold.

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