2017, Year of the Flying Squirrel

2017.  Year of the Turd.  That’s pretty crude, I can do better.  OK.  2017, Year of the Flying Squirrel.  I like the idea of a flying squirrel, they have pluck.  No wings but they make do.  They fly somehow anyway, though not as well as a bumblebee.

I’ve heard references to 2016 being a bad year.  Because of Trump?  Please.  My dog died—or, rather, I had my dog put down.  I invited some horrible woman with a needle to come into my house and kill my dog.  If 2016 was a bad year it was because I had to make that hasty and rude introduction with death, the reaper.  Or for the people in Aleppo was 2016 a bad year.  It was a bad year for the people who lost mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, wives and husbands, friends they have known for most of their lives.

If I said 2017 was the Year of the Turd it was because I’m sitting here feeling sorry myself, with a head cold, rainy drear outside.  It’s January, it’s not supposed to be pleasant.  Spring is ahead.  Baseball, the full 162, is out there on the schedule, yet to be played.  Good music is going to be released along with thousands of free podcasts.  I got a new iPod for Christmas—ask and ye shall receive still works for me.  God, I’ve been spoiled and lucky.  The iPod I was replacing, which I’d stuck in a creaky drawer, suddenly woke back up when I plugged it back in on a whim, once more ’round the old ballpark, for kicks.  Lo these last few months it was merely hibernating, much like the flying squirrel would do.  Wait—

“Google, do flying squirrels hibernate?”

As it happens I’ve set my default browser to Bing but as I type “do flying” the first suggestion in the auto-complete is, “Do flying squirrels hibernate?”  This is too much.  Sadly, though, according to the website for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, flying squirrels do not hibernate.

“Though seldom seen, flying squirrels are interesting animals.  With their loos folds of skin (called a patagium) stretched between all four legs, they are able to glide considerable distances under full control.  Many people who think they see birds flying across highways at night actually are seeing flying squirrels.  Flying squirrels do not hibernate but slow their body activity in winter and sometimes nest in groups to stay warm.”

I’m taking a moment to add “See a flying squirrel” to my bucket list.  They’re nocturnal so I’m going to have to stay up late.  Their habitat includes northern states as far and wide as Maine and Oregon as well as a wide swath of Canada.  Maybe one will glide across some cold Canadian highway one night as I drive in search of my number one bucket list item, the aurora borealis.  Here’s to 2017, Year of the Flying Squirrel.

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