Smoking In Nature
Smoking in Nature by Chuck Stanion

Hiking in the woods behind my house the other day, I ran across a squirrel with an attitude. She was standing in the middle of the trail and didn't seem to want me to pass.

I asked if she was rabid, but she didn't answer. I moved to walk around her, but she scurried in front of me and blocked the way, chattering about whatever squirrel news was on her mind. I moved to the other side of the path, and she blocked me again, unintimidated by my advantage in size.

I sat on a rock and lit a pipe, looking at the squirrel, trying to figure out what was happening. Squirrels don't just come down from the trees and begin conversing with humans; it's social suicide. If her friends had seen her talking with me, she would be an outcast. How could I explain that squirrels and humans don't mix and that I couldn't be her friend?

She seemed awfully interested in my pipe. She approached to within a couple of feet and stretched toward it, sniffing and sneezing. Then she bolted off the left side of the trail. I guessed that was the end of our interaction and rose to continue my hike, but she came back and started yammering in her chirpy squirrel voice, then bolted off to the left again, returning a moment later. I could only surmise that she wanted me to follow. Smart squirrel.

Squirrels don't just come down from the trees and begin conversing with humans; it's social suicide.

She barreled through the woods, waiting when I fell behind, until we came upon a small clearing with a single maple tree, 15 feet up which rested a precariously balanced squirrel's nest with the chattering of baby squirrels coming from it. Hanging immediately above was a small but growing bee hive. I immediately recognized the problem and didn't need the explanation of the squirrel, who was clamoring incessantly and demanding a solution.

I climbed the tree and started blowing smoke into the beehive. I'd read that smoke interferes with the pheromones bees use to communicate, and that it additionally causes the bees to prepare for evacuation in case of forest fire by eating as much honey as they can to take with them, causing lethargy. It took just a few minutes of my Virginia/Perique blend to render the bees happily passive. I moved the squirrel's nest to a higher branch and secured it with pipe cleaners.

The squirrel looked things over and seemed satisfied, but then decided I should leave and scolded me from above until I departed. She was done with me.

I relit my pipe with new appreciation for my favorite McClelland blend. It had done a fine job of dispatching those bees. I guess that's why it's called Beacon.

Category:   Pipe Line
Tagged in:   Editorial Humor Pipe Culture


    • Michel on May 4, 2019
    • Chuck, what great stories. Keep posting.

    • Phil_Tolkien on May 10, 2019
    • Smoking in nature is something pipes are made for!
      Besides smoking near an open fire source, like a campfire for example.

    • Holmes67 on May 14, 2019
    • That's Awesome Chuck . I am so proud brother you helped those babies out. I'm sure MoMA was happy too. Thanks
      Scott Dickens

    • Tom on May 16, 2019
    • Great story! Didnt know squirrels lived in nests! Keep 'em coming.

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