Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Well-planned Squirrel Act
AJ Robinson

We’re now settling into our new home. The move took several days and boxes piled higher than I am tall; that’s tall! Yet, one thing is definitely back to normal: Juliet’s “relationship” with the local squirrels.

I firmly believe the squirrels back at our old place sent word of her arrival. I don’t know, maybe they sent a text or an email. They definitely didn’t use snail-mail; well prepared were these squirrels for Juliet. One morning, just two days after we moved in, I was taking Juliet for a walk, and a squirrel appeared before us. Juliet froze. She took one-step, and then bolted after the animal. It quickly darted into a clump of three palms trees, surrounded by a low hedge. Juliet raced to the stop the squirrel had entered and examined the area; meanwhile, the squirrel race out the other side of the hedge.

Juliet never saw a thing.

The squirrel scampered up a large oak that sat off to the side, and came to rest among its higher branches. Ah, but the little fellow did not remain there. You see, Juliet was still studying the palms, desperate to discover how her new nemesis had managed to up and disappear. The squirrel obliged her with an answer. Some of the branches of the oak were long enough to reach one of the palms. The squirrel climbed along the longest branch, got to the palm, and took up a position on the trunk just below the palm fronds. Facing downward, the squirrel proceeded to ridicule Juliet’s efforts to catch him.

How I knew that’s what he was saying, you ask. I’ve heard enough squirrel yammer and chatter, at Juliet, to translate, well, the gist of their conversation. Juliet’s response was to race to the third palm tree and try to run up it. That's her usual modus operandi when confronted with a teasing squirrel. She got all of about four feet and then tumbled back to earth. The squirrel them jumped to palm number two and repeated the process. Juliet then felt compelled to try her hand, paws, at climbing that palm. The outcome was the same.

After that, the squirrel clearly felt that he was doing well. He jumped to the final palm, and the entire scene played out once more. At this point, I knew with absolute certainty that the squirrel was doing all of this deliberately, and was deriving a great deal of joy from it. After all, he could have stayed in the oak and been safe and undetected. He chose to come over to the palm and make his presence known. On top of that, he then also chose to jump mind you, not climb, to the second and then the third palm.

Consider what would have happened had the squirrel messed up in his footing and grip during any of these actions. He would have tumbled to the ground right in front of Juliet! Not the place you want to be when she got her dander up. So yes, the squirrel was doing all of this deliberately, and doing it as a means of entertaining himself.

Oh, I have a feeling this is going to be an interesting place to live.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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