Alabama Beach Mouse  (c)2008 Val Webb


                  Sketch: Delmarva Fox Squirrel (c)2008 Val Webb


A few weeks ago, Terry Burger mentioned the dwindling fox squirrel population in his beautifully written — and unfailingly relevant — blog.  I had no idea what a fox squirrel looked like, so I did a little research. Here, I quickly realized, is a furry little creature with a cuteness quotient worthy of a Disney animated feature. Big, bright eyes and chubby cheeks.  An abundantly fluffy tail.  A perpetually cheery and inquisitive facial expression.  I remembered reading that funding for species protection has been found to heavily favor cuteness. Public support is strong for penguins, pandas and koalas… but most people find it difficult to get misty-eyed about critically endangered fish, moths or worms.

Nevertheless, the fox squirrel and the equally appealing Alabama beach mouse have been added to the growing collection of little paintings on postcards I’m creating for an upcoming show. Postcards from the Edge of Extinction will open May 9 at the Mobile Arts Council galleries. 

Last night, we dined on the first salads of spring. The leaf lettuces (buttercrunch, romaine, oak leaf and red oak leaf) are sweet and crisp. They taste like sunlight and promise. We picked the tender side leaves at dusk, after a day of soft rain.  Mmmmmm… eating the first harvest of the spring garden always feels like the height of luxury.