Mother Method and I were at home, kippering slowly in the hot and smoke-filled house, when she directed my attention to a small animal in the backyard. I came to the window expecting to see a snowshoe hare or a squirrel. Instead, I saw something that I would have never expected to see in any backyard in Hobbiton–a marmot!
“I can’t believe it,” I said. “That’s a freaking marmot.”
Marmots (or groundhogs or whistle-pigs or parka squirrels) typically live at much higher, alpine-type environs. Why one would be hanging down in Hobbiton is a baffling question.
Asking around at work, however, I discovered that marmots have indeed been seen around our happy valley of late although they usually confine themselves to the slopes, not to the flatlands. Which again begs the question–what is the varmint …er. . . marmot doing in my very flat backyard (apart from nibbling my dandelions and delphiniums)?
Several weeks ago there was a big set-to at the mall just a couple of streets over from where I live. A marmot, apparently looking for a coffee and bagel, scurried into the mall bagel shop which is under construction, sending screaming patrons clambering up onto their teeny-tiny cafe tables. Hobbiton’s finest responded in force and shooed the disconcerted marmot back out into the field behind the mall.
So I can’t help wondering if this is the same Marmot Mall Invader or a different one altogether. Admittedly, the chubby-cheeked little guy would have had to cross some major highways to get to my neighborhood, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
Beware, my friends, beware of Marmots from the Mall! (Coming to your house sooner than you think). Watch the ground! Watch the ground!