There was a chipmunk who lived behind a garden wall. It was a nice garden, with plenty of goodies to munch on. There were some humans who would make an appearance occasionally, but the chipmunk found they weren’t dangerous as long as she kept her distance. The favorite morsel of this chipmunk was fresh sunflower leaves just coming up from the soil. They had a sweet taste, and the texture of the leaves was just perfect. It was a balancing act to time the perfect moment to snag this delightful treat. Too early and the taste wasn’t quite right. Too late, and the taste turned sour, and the leaves tough and chewy. The chipmunk also had to compete with the neighborhood bunnies who also loved sunflower leaves the same way the chipmunk did.
This particular summer sunflower plants were popping up all over the garden. The chipmunk danced with the delight behind her garden wall, thinking of her future meal. When the time was right, she scampered across the garden, grabbed three leaves, and took a glorious bite. She could barely contain herself. It was just as lovely as she imagined. She ate and ate until she was completely stuffed. After a day of lounging and relaxing, she was back that evening ready for more. The bunnies had taken a few, but there were enough left for her, and she was grateful.
The next morning the chipmunk was making her rounds through the garden, digging and scavenging for her breakfast when she spotted a human. She dove into some thick leafy plants and watched. The human was looking at the sunflower stems sticking out of the soil. The human said some words which she could not understand, but being an animal as she was, she had a sort of intuition about things, and she could feel the disappointment in the mind of the human. He then pulled a small envelope out of his pocket, pulled some seeds out of the envelope, and carefully began to push them into the soil. “More sunflowers!” the chipmunk thought. “How wonderful!”
The human unraveled a hose and began to spray water across the soil. It was then that the chipmunk felt the human’s emotions turn from disappointment, to hope and eager anticipation. He was excited in a way that was similar to how she felt about sunflowers, only different. “How interesting,” thought the chipmunk. Soon the human went back inside his house and the chipmunk continued her breakfast hunt. She knew she could eat the sunflower seeds now if she wanted, but that wouldn’t taste nearly as wonderful.
In about two weeks, the time had arrived. Sunflower breakfast time! The chipmunk ran down the wall at full speed heading straight for the young sunflower plants. Diving on the first one she came to, she pulled off all the leaves, put them in her mouth and chewed slowly as the juicy flavors overwhelmed her senses. She swallowed and jumped on the next one, but this time she stopped. She remembered the human, and the emotions that she felt from him as he looked at the sunflower plants she had eaten. She then remembered the nice feeling emotions of the human as he watered the new seeds he had planted. “Perhaps I can leave this one,” she thought. “And maybe a few others as well.”
The following week or so was very difficult for the chipmunk. She did not want to eat the sunflower leaves, but once or twice she grabbed a leaf or two. There were many sunflowers remaining however, and they grew and grew. Throughout the rest of the summer she hid inside her many hiding spots and felt the happiness of the human as he looked at the sunflowers growing. Soon the sunflowers had large flower heads and the chipmunk could feel immense joy and appreciation coming from the human as he stared at the bright yellow blooms. It was a nice feeling for the chipmunk to share with this human. In many ways a much nicer feeling than enjoying her favorite meal. She wasn’t going to give up her favorite delicacy, no point in depriving herself of life’s pleasures, but perhaps there was more to a chipmunk life then keeping everything for herself she thought. Perhaps giving something to others, humans and chipmunks alike, something they too could enjoy, was also something worth doing.