June 5th: Moving into the cabin

It's just after lunch on a clear and cool day in Talkeetna, Alaska. I'm in the process of moving into a small cabin that I just rented here. I just moved all my boxes from my car into the cabin, and I'm unpacking them now.

Talkeetna is a very small Alaska town. Fewer than 800 people live here, and the downtown area is so small that there are less than ten stores in a three-block area, and all the "stores" are old log cabins. I decided to move here so I can see what life is really like in small-town Alaska.

As I'm unpacking a box in the kitchen I hear a knock at the front door. I walk to the front door, open it, and look around, but all I see is a squirrel standing on the railing. "Hmm", I think, "I'm sure I heard someone knock on the door." Wondering what happened, I close the door, and walk back to the kitchen.

Just as I pick up a box of crackers, there it is again, knock-knock-knock. But this time, when I turn around, I realize the knocking isn't coming from the door -- it's coming from the front window. That squirrel is standing on top of the chair on the front porch, and he's leaning in and knocking on the window! I look back at him for a moment, trying to think of what I'm supposed to do, when I decide I should go back and open the front door.

By the time I open the door the squirrel is standing on the wooden railing that wraps around the front porch. "Hello", he says, "I'm the squirrel!"

"Um, yes ... hello", I say, very surprised that not only does he knock, but he also talks. "Yes, I can see you're a squirrel -- ", I say, but he jumps in before I can finish my sentence.

"Excuse me", he says, "Not just A squirrel, I'm THE Squirrel!".

"Oh, THE Squirrel", I say, realizing this is his name. "I see. Well, it's nice to meet you, Squirrel. My name is Al."

"Nice to meet you Al. I saw you moving in, and I thought I'd come over and say hello."

"That's very nice of you, thank you. I've never had a squirrel welcome me to a new neighborhood before." Just then I see him looking at the box of crackers in my hand. "Say, would you like some crackers?"

"Why sure", Squirrel says, "Don't mind if I do." As I hand him some crackers he says, "I'm sorry, but I'll have to be running off. Now that it has warmed up here I have a lot of work to do. But I'll come back and see you again."

"Thanks, that would be nice."

"Welcome to Talkeetna!", Squirrel says. Then he puts the crackers in his mouth, runs down the front railing, then jumps up onto one tree, and then another, and another, until I can't see him any more.

"Gosh", I think to myself, "he seems like a nice guy."