Sipping tea in my car while bundled against the morning cold, I had the perfect vantage point for viewing the chipmunk who came to explore my campsite. After sniffing under the picnic table and finding nothing of interest, she sprang up onto the top where she found the empty container of cashew yogurt I had hastily eaten before retreating to my car. She tipped over the container and stuck her head in, popping it right back out to stare at me, but now with pink splatters of strawberry yogurt dotting her little brown face.

I burst out laughing as she continued to poke her head in and out of the container, aware that I was watching her and always taking a look at me before ducking her head back in.

She had turned the container so the clear bottom was facing my direction. I could see her tiny red tongue deftly flicking the remaining yogurt off the bottom, circling around in increments as if carefully washing a dirty window. When she popped her head out to look at me, she would lick her lips with satisfaction. Finishing the first course in her unusual breakfast, she scampered to the end of the picnic table where she found the bright green and black caterpillar I had put there the night before. It had seemed out of place on the bare ground, it’s colors contrasting with the dark soil instead of camouflaging it’s presence. I had picked it up to avoid stepping on it. Clutching it in her delicate paws, the chipmunk began eating it. I could see it’s goopy moistness stretching from her mouth like melted cheese as she nibbled it.

After enjoying the plumb caterpillar feast, she scampered to a patch of dandelion greens and yanked several large leaves out, folding them over neatly and then methodically stuffing them in her mouth while chewing rapidly. Undoubtedly a bitter aperitif to help digest her rich and unusual meal! By this time I had finished my tea and my heart was warm with the laughter brought by my bold and hungry visitor. And she didn’t seem to mind being my delightful and surprising guest.