Bottle Up

And Bottle Down

Story and Photos by Joseph Zahnle

It was just a yellow plastic bottle lying in the neighbor’s driveway across the street. I noticed it when I was taking out the trash. Someone had driven over it and flattened it. Not very interesting—at first, anyway.

After dinner,  I retired to the living room to watch TV while my wife Barbara and her mother Margaret started their nightly card game. I heard Barbara excitedly tell her mother to come see what this trash-digging squirrel was up to. I went into the room and looked out the window with them. The squirrel had carried the flattened bottle across the street into our yard and had begun to haul it up a tree. As we watched, it dropped the bottle and went back down to retrieve it. Then it dropped it again and retrieved it. The third time the bottle fell, the squirrel looked at it and continued climbing the tree without it.

I went to my office to get my camera. By the time I was outside, the squirrel had regained its  strength and determination. It came down the tree to retrieve the bottle again. On this attempt, it managed to get to a branch where it could go to work chewing. It sounded as if it were eating a nut.

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