Monday, April 18, 2011

Squirrel Elegy

This is fact, not fiction

I was walking. Up the sidewalk. About to cross the street.

Not a small street, but a busy thoroughfare. With four lanes of traffic speeding by.

I pressed the button at the crosswalk. Looked across to the park, oddly quiet first thing in the morning (in contrast to the paved hustle and bustle where four-wheeled modern dinosaurs burned through the remnants of the dinosaurs from millions of years earlier).

And a single squirrel ran from the park.

Ran from his home. From his family. From the soft grasses topped with dew.

And zoomed into the road. Pausing, armed with his wits and the crude arrogance of youth and speed.

I watched, fascinated. Caught up in his journey.

And saw the black SUV -- too close? Too far? Hard to say.

The squirrel did not see the SUV. But may have sensed it.

There was no swerving. No squeal of brakes. Just a single thump.

Rubber struck flesh and there was bouncing against concrete.

The squirrel stopped. The SUV did not.

And then, almost magically, there was no traffic. Nothing moving for hundreds of yards in either direction across four lanes of pavement.

Except for the squirrel. He was on his back, his eyes more confused than panicked. This was something he'd never imagined.

One paw twitched once, twice.

I couldn't look away. Then I saw his tail curl up quickly and uncurl slowly on the ground.

And everything was still. Including the squirrel.

Somehow, in that instant, I sensed that his family and his squirrel buddies had to know what I knew: he was gone. Somewhere else.

And as the traffic returned, the other cars were careful (much more careful than the SUV had been). They drove around the body, perhaps not realizing that squirrel was already gone.


Anonymous said...

so sad :(

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

This is mildly freaking me out on account of a synchronicity kind of thing, that is, this is the same vibe that i was working with, independently arrived at & whatnot -- not squirrels and not expressed as well of course -- but feels like we had the same vibe very close in time in different spots on the continent; thanks for posting