At Mom’s suggestion, I clipped off this little low-hanging branch in her back yard and brought it inside to paint. I was surprised to find that the cherries, all but one, were clustered around one part of it like horses on a carousel. Leaves were all at the very end of the branch, fanned out and drooping. Another thing about the world that I’d never noticed until I examined it with the intensity necessary to sketch!
As I was preparing to post this, motion caught my eye outside the window, and I looked up to see a squirrel. Not in the cherry tree, as I would have expected, but hanging upside down from a wire, doing a paw-over-paw on his way to the birdfeeder. For years, my father tried to “squirrel-proof” his birdfeeders.
At one point he had big squares of sheet metal surrounding homemade feeders that were perched on posts in the middle of the lawn. Those came down the year the grandchildren’s heads reached sheet metal height and running in the yard meant risking being beheaded by the sharp edges… He finally hit upon the wire approach, stretching a wire for a hundred feet between trees about six feet above the ground, and hanging the feeder in the middle of the wire. I wonder what he would have thought watching that squirrel as he flipped and twirled and used his tail to spin himself upright! His next stunt involved a tight-rope walker’s concentration as he took a few steps along the wire, lost his balance, and was hanging only by his hind legs. Quivering with intensity, he was able to grab the wire with his front paws again, and he repeated the sequence. By this point there were three humans standing at the window, laughing so hard we couldn’t speak. He finally gave up, made it back to the fence, staggered to the deck and collapsed in the shade. He sprawled on his belly, legs splayed out… just for a few minutes. Then he was off and gone, I’m sure to raid another day at the birdfeeder!