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An island squirrel's life on Bradenton Beach

Years ago, I came upon a trio of grazing cows while driving up Highway 1 along the mind-blowingly scenic (for a flatlander, at any rate) Northern California coastline. I always remember wondering if those cows, serendipitously rewarded with endlessly sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, were any happier than their landlocked brethren -- with nary an ocean, let alone a cliff, or the sound of crashing waves to ease their minds.

Fast forward to the curious case of the Coquina Beach squirrel. What a life--living in paradise, soaking up the sunshine and gulf breeze while shamelessly strutting for handouts amidst the slash pines and sea oats.

Are beach squirrels any happier than their urban comrades? Do squirrels even get the blues? To date, my net profit on lottery scratch-offs is somewhere deep in the gutter. But if I get lucky, perhaps someday I can join them and get used to having the beach as my living room. Until then, I'll just soak it up in spades every once in a while. Then back to the city I go. Short a couple of nuts, but a little happier none the less.

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