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By Charles E. Graham

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The squirrel squinted at the wealth of seeds spilled on the ground, ran down, and gorged itself upon the loot. This developed into a routine maneuver that never failed. And suddenly my patience ran out. At that moment I took no account of my own frustration which turned into a fit of annoyance reinforced by a need for [SO The Lovely and the Wild vengeance. Several things justified these feelings. First, I was interested in birds and not in squirrels and therefore the birds must be protected against the trespassing and food-stealing squirrels.

The bird was real, not an imitation or a falsehood. The winter's hard labor we had just experienced was performed for a real purpose, not just for gain, and it had a salubrious effect upon our bodies and our minds. It had to do with life, real life; it had to do with survival. Nature is a deep reality and whether we understand it or not it is true and elemental. Here in our own wilderness with its essence of actuality we had a marvelous chance to probe into the meanings of this saner kind of life with its purer values.

It was probably just one of those things that happen, based on the subtle attraction that develops occasionally between two characters whose reactions to each other are more favorable than otherwise. For my part I wanted to be friends with Kicki in order to learn at first hand what it was [53] The Lovely and the Wild like to be a red squirrel. That I stooped to employ artificial aids in attaining this objective may be forgiven on the premise that the goal justified the means in mutual measure. My lard pudding, a concoction of rolled oats, fat, and water, was and is a delicacy universally approved by all the animals of our forest from the black bears to the chipping sparrows.

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