chipmunks

Deer follow their long-legged shadows through the trees. Three phoebes chase through the branches and three chipmunks through the leaf duff.

The stone wall chipmunk keeps sneaking onto the territory of the road bank chipmunk, then fleeing back across the yard—a striped blur.

Colder than yesterday, but the last bones of snow still didn’t survive the night. A chipmunk takes fright, tail up like an exclamation mark.

Chickadees twittering back and forth in the birches. In the snow beside my chair, the small, intricately clawed tracks of a chipmunk.

‪So many chipmunks are racing about at the woods’ edge that after watching them for a while, I begin to feel itchy. A crow clears its throat.‬

‪Weak sunlight. Dead leaves are all a-rustle, rummaged through by squirrels, voles, chipmunks, juncos. The distant cry of a maybe killdeer.‬

Chipmunks coming into heat chase each other over the bright, melting snow. I recall that their name comes from the Ojibwe for “headlong.”