This afternoon, one - just one - of my apple tree branches began to sway up and down. The swaying intensified as, through the leaves, my red squirrel came into view.
The squirrel, who makes the southern half of my block his territory, crept along ever more tiny branches, which swung in wilder and wilder arcs. No matter to the squirrel who, with perfect balance, snuck down a twig to grasp a low-hanging apple significantly bigger than its head. The squirrel bit into the fruit, secured his grip with another crunch, and with sure feet and an ever-waving tail ventured back up the twigs and tiny branches to the sturdy trunk behind the foliage.
I couldn't see the squirrel, but I could see little apple crumbs falling to the ground.
Minutes later my familiar deer, already mottled with the beginnings of her winter fur, wandered beneath the tree and gobbled some fallen apples - quite unaware that her quickly diminishing supply of ripe fruit had been burglarized.
As the doe settled herself into the grass, I imagined I could hear a squirrel, high above, silently chortling.