Monday, January 31, 2011

Squirrelly Grace

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Last year on one of my walks, I saw a squirrel running down the fence line ahead of me. I was on a sidewalk and he was on the fence between two yards, heading towards the sidewalk and the tree growing there.

I wasn't really paying that much attention to him, just casually noticed him out of the corner of my eye. I kept walking down the sidewalk, closer to the point where this fence line and tree met up, and the squirrel was doing the same.

As it happened, I arrived at that junction about the same time as the squirrel did and it finally occurred to me that this squirrel was going to be jumping over my head to the tree and because it was so close to running into me, I suddenly jerked my head to see what he was doing.

I think the sudden jerk of my head frightened the squirrel and this happened right at the moment he was jumping. As a result, he missed his timing or cut short his jump or something, but the end result was almost cartoon-like. You remember how the Coyote would be chasing the Road Runner (or Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs Bunny) and he would accidentally run off a cliff and his feet would keep spinning for a while until it occurred to him he had run off a cliff, and then he'd stop running and stand there in mid-air with a sad look of realization on his face, and then finally, he'd fall?

That's what this squirrel did.

His little feet spun in the air several inches short of the branch he was jumping for and then, well, he just grace-lessly fell to the sidewalk.

I guess all in nature is not always smooth and graceful.


In other, tragic rodent-related news, the frozen carcass of Punxsutawney Phil was uncovered today as the crowd awaited his appearance for Groundhog Day.

"This does NOT bode well for spring," the mayor was heard to say over the howling blizzard-condition winds...


Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Many years ago, as my then lady-friend and I were walking to the car, she slipped on a patch of ice. Both her feet went up and for what seemed the longest fraction of a second, she hung, suspended in a sitting position in mid air, both legs straight out in front of her, arms flung down and out, her face frozen with her mouth in a large "O", her eyes wide. Then, she landed in a heap. I went and helped her up, but I couldn't control the laughter. Nineteen years later, that image of her, just hanging there in mid-air, is still with me.

Roger said...

Growing up in Hawaii and East Africa did not give me much experience with ice. I stepped out of my college dorm on my way to breakfast after the first big freeze of my freshman year onto an ice-covered porch. Not only did my feet fly out from under me most gracelessly, but my rear end bumped down each of the four steps to the sidewalk below. Ouch!

Dan Trabue said...

owch and owch.