The thought crossed my mind that, in earlier times, the busy squirrels would have been gathering food for my larder as well as their own, as the acorns which puffed their cheeks would have been destined to become the squirrel meat I'd have hunted in winter's depths. I can imagine a member of the native tribes which once inhabited this ridge watching a similar scene of rodent enterprise approvingly, knowing that he was seeing a future meal being prepared for his own fire. I, of course, do not devour squirrels, but I think perhaps the cat would be pleased to do so, were she able to catch one. In fact, she prefers the smaller rodents who are now gathering smaller seeds from brown fields and the tangled brush of the forest floor. Maybe those tasty creatures are what she dreams of as she lies in the sunlight, whiskers twitching.
Still, the cat knows that I am the one who opens the cans from which she is fed. Maybe she's dreaming of me, spooning exotic salmon or beef into her bowl. Should some disaster befall the elaborate artificial food chain constructed by humans, the cat would stand a better chance of survival than would I, of course. She can revert to a wild state with great ease-- I've seen her do so, stalking some hapless creature which has come withing her view-- while I would be at great loss were I to have need of those furry little rodents, or any other wild creature, as sustenance. Though my ancestors of not too long ago would have known just how to find, slaughter, and prepare a squirrel for dinner, I have none of their craft, and am adept only at stalking the throughly domesticated package of ramen or jar of peanut butter.
Despite my considerable distance from traditional ways of life, I think perhaps that the pleasure I take in observing the activities of those species with which I share this bit of territory may be dependent on some atavistic instinct which indicates to my subconscious mind that things are going well. The plants and trees are bearing seeds and fruit, the birds and beasts are eating, the sun is warming the soil and the small wisps of cloud which appear are gathering the rain which will renew the cycle-- in short, the season is where it ought to be. That's good enough reason to take an hour in which to indulge that sense of well being which rises in my thoughts as effortlessly as the oak leaves drift earthward to become soil once again.