Worth the Effort?

by Carl Strang

On Saturday I went to Les Arends Forest Preserve in Kane County to watch a high school regional cross country meet.

The boys’ race, half a mile in.

While waiting between the girls’ and boys’ races, I sat and had lunch at a beautiful wooded edge.

Something caught my eye.

In the top of a spindly sapling 15 feet or so tall, there was a lump.

See it, near the top?

It proved to be a walnut, wedged in a fork of branches.

The sapling was not the source of the nut.

A walnut is a good bundle of calories for a tree squirrel, and one such rodent (probably a fox squirrel) had gone to the effort to grab a nut, husk and all, haul it out into the secondary growth perhaps 20 yards from the source tree, and carry it to the top of the sapling, wedging it well enough that recent storms have not dislodged it. Now, if that squirrel can just remember that the nut is there, and is not pre-empted by another sharp-eyed bushytail, the effort will have been worthwhile.

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