Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Talking To

I’d been out of touch with news over the past few days, so brought a little radio on my morning latte-walk. But just a couple of blocks into the walk, a noise drowned out my radio as if I’d turned the volume to mute.

I removed an earbud and looked around, finally catching sight of a grey squirrel perched in plain sight on a low tree branch ahead. He (she?) faced me directly and squawked ferociously.

Giving a passing thought to rabies, I kept my eyes on him as I approached. He didn’t scrabble around to hide behind the tree, as squirrels tend to do. Instead, as I passed, he moved around toward me, his body stretched forward like a pointer dog, his head extended tautly. Squared off, he continued to yell at me!

I’ve heard the cautions about human behavior: when you see something unusual going on, it’s likely a staged distraction away from something even more interesting ... like a pickpocket. Did humans steal this strategy from animals? Because, judging by that squirrel’s squawking, there must have been some kind o’ somethin’ he didn’t want me to notice. Maybe babies, out on their own?

I wish I’d thought to look anywhere but at him.

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