More than Nuts

by Anne Elizabeth Evans

In Brevard a white squirrel scampers from fence post to post. He has family nearby. At Christmas I meet a woman who writes children’s books about a white squirrel named Ozette who lives in Farlandia. This writer feeds her white squirrel friends every day and is loathe to travel… does not want to abandon her second family.

At the Brevard Blues Festival, a man wears a maroon tee shirt with a huge white smiling squirrel, juggling acorns above his head. A twinkle in his eye. A friend and I find the shop selling these shirts and purchase three of them. We each wear one and present our choir director with the third one. He doubles in laughter as he sees the acorns being juggled and says, “this is my life more than you know.”

One March day, a brown squirrel with a white diamond on his back, sprawls across a tree trunk in the warm sun. Upside down his arms stretch out and belly flats against the brown trunk. His claws extend.

He rests a long time while I improvise a tune on my harp beside the window near him. Shortly he scampers down the tree trunk away as I play the tune he inspired.

Anne Elizabeth Evans moved to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2008 after a career as a counseling psychologist in Pennsylvania, where she was involved with poetry groups and memoir- and journal-writing. She has studied with Nick Flynn and Peggy Millin. Anne Elizabeth enjoys travel, working with plants, and sound healing therapy. She also composes music on her harp, which she played at Hospice in Pennsylvania for a number of years as a Certified Music Practitioner.

About More than Nuts—This poem was inspired in part by a visit to Brevard, North Carolina, where I saw my first white squirrel. I was astounded that families of white squirrels happily live there. Six months later, I met a woman who authored several children’s books starring a white squirrel named Ozette who creates a loving community in Farlandia. Another encounter with a squirrel occurred in the spring, when a brown squirrel with a white diamond marking on his back sprawled across a tree trunk for some forty minutes. This event inspired a tune on the harp as well as this prose poem.