|Dimp peering out from inside his tree on a snowy day|
That's not to say he can't scurry back into his sanctuary or up a tree if need be if one of his few predators approaches when he's outside at night gathering bark and acorns for food.
Other wildlife, especially owls or coyotes, as with a few humans who happen to see him after a late night trysting and drinking in Hafer Park, probably consider him some form of mutant squirrel or prairie dog, but he's smarter and more patient that them, as are most emps.
Most emps are only about four to six inches long, and seem to be that way most of their lives, evolved to move through the interior of the roots and cavities of trees.
In terms of procreation, there is a little evidence that they are spawned perhaps by spores or fertilized molecules left on acorns outside on the ground, which are then brought into a tree by another emp. This is an unsolved mystery, and emps seem never to talk about it, but fits in with the possibility that they may be a link between the plant and animal kingdoms.
Each emp apparently recognizes other emps by name, and the trees were they live. There is some evidence that they help name each other, but since nobody has ever managed to capture and figure out the age of emps, that also remains a mystery, as does their gender differences.
Dimp is obviously short for his dimples. Other names I picked up on from the vibrations I felt around Sol were Gimp, for an emp who tended to limp and Timp, short for temporary, one of the few who are impatient.
I found it refreshing that emps have no use for political correctness or politics. Thus one who seems to lack courage is named Wimp, and another who isn't the brightest, Simp. I heard of one named Pimp, but since emps also have no use for exploitation or sin--apparently not being bothered by differences of gender or social status, I am at a lost to explain that one.
Their social gatherings on special days like Arbor Day and Earth Day are rare and brief. It would be a mistake to call them religious rites, because emps believe all life is connected and therefore equally important. Perhaps the gatherings are more for just celebrating life as such, or to share news they can't gather from their network of tree roots, or to help acculturate the younger ones.
It's obvious that they're very peaceful and open-minded creatures since they're not burdened with politics, gender and social inequality, and religion.
That leads to the next chapter, chapter four, about their roles and influence on their trees, and the benefits to humans.