Bedtime Stories

The Battle of the Great Oak Tree

Every September as the leaves begin to turn and the mornings become crisp and cool.

When the acorns begin to loosen on the branch and fall from the great oak tree,

The battle begins between the squirrels and crows.

Why they fight? Who can say?

Is it fun or fancy or fear of the coming cold?

Is it an age-old feud like the Hatfields and McCoys?

The squirrels give no reason and the crows only caw

And so the fighting begins.

A sleeping squirrel is awoken when a morning breeze drops an acorn from above.

The angry squirrel blames a roosting crow with a well-aimed throw.

The crow answers back a loud and piercing cry, calling others to join the fight.

Black feathers respond from all around and rendezvous atop the great oak tree.

Together they screech and shake the branches to loosen a spray of acorn bombs.

The squirrel seeks shelter below a branch and sounds a chattering alarm.

In neighboring trees and hedges fluffy tails raise like flags, tiny claws scamper to the call.

They join in ranks to launch a defense, hurling acorns towards feathered foes.

A chorus of shock and anger arises as the birds take flight.

Crows land hard on the great oak tree to release another volley.

Onto the roofs, fences and benches below, rains the shrapnel from the fight.

The people in their beds are awoken or else roll over with a groan trying to regain their dreams.

A great acorn bomb falls, making a horrendous crash bellow;

The dog in an adjacent yard hurries over barking and jumping.

Another two houses over with a smaller yip takes up the chorus.

They’ve heard the alarms, the cries and want to join the fight,

But fences keep them out and all they can do is bark and run

Until they are forced inside their houses by groggy, unhappy owners who scold.

This battle is for two sides only, there is no room for others.

As the sun raises and the neighborhood stirs, the crows and squirrels must give up their battle.

The warmth of day draws too many intruding civilians,

But the war is not over and winter is still months away.

As long as the acorns fall, the two sides will duel.

There will be no victor in the great oak tree, but tradition is tradition.

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