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February 1, 2011

My little Yellow bellied sapsucker.

I reached up with one arm and was able with little effort, to stuff a walnut into the elongated hole on the west face of the tall sycamore. It was now fairly easy to reach the hole since there was a thick mat of snow at the foot of the tree. Before the snow collected I had to jump and gently toss the nut in, which made me concerned that I might alarm or even injure one of the squirrels nestled inside. Having placed the walnut harmlessly at the mouth of the hole I returned to my bench and waited to see if that adorable little face or a paw would appear through the hole to retrieve my gift.
Presently no one came and the walnut remained unclaimed as the sunlight faded and the streetlamps began to turn on slowly all along the snow covered grounds in Central Park. The electric lights began to brighten up the little hill and the happy screams from the sledding children on Cedar Hill lessened as the little ones were, with much protest, carried away home.
I occupied my thoughts with hopes of seeing the silhouette of Palemale coast by along the bare tree tops to settle in his roost of choice for the night, and those thoughts of mine also wondered about where the furry little residents of the sycamore tree were and what did their cozy home inside the tree trunk looked like.
After a dozing off or two I heard their chatty voices and found them, tail first, trotting up and between the banks of snow on the blind side of the hill.
With more chatting and some scurrying they both took a spiral path up the tree. The foremost may have been surprised at the sight of the walnut since he leaped over it and disappeared with a fairly loud screech, into the belly of the tree. His companion, with what sounded like a scolding remark for the otherís silly behavior, examined the walnut and did not delay in carrying it back down the tree and quickly buried it not more than a half dozen hops north, north west of the base.
With frozen fingertips tucked away in pockets and all covered except a sliver for peering, I sat and waited and warmed myself, thoughts first, with the wholesome lives of all the parkís wild animals.
What did they do once inside that hole, I wondered. Do they have separate sleeping bunks or did they snuggle close together. I imagined the latter with one tail down and around and the other, up and over making a neat comforter for both to enjoy.
I would like to believe that all worry of the day would be as dim as the sunlight by then, and with only and few adjustments to place whiskers out of tickling reach they soon fell asleep with the help of soothing sounds of the entire Universe which only they can hear funneling through their tree hole and into their innocent hearts.
Just then Palemale came around the pines in a soft glide and blended himself into the night, and I, being satisfied that all was well, reluctantly tore myself away, protesting too like the little children from the snowy hill, and carried myself away to attend to my worldly duties with the one hope that with them done I may live to wander back into the world of my beautiful friends yet another day for my delight and sanity.

Mostly photographed in Central Park and surrounding areas, Sunday January 30, 2011.