It is hard to imagine that adults can have childlike moments about some of the simplest things. I have been known to turn into a 2 year old baby at the sight of a cute puppy or lapse into goo-goo- gaga talk with a parrot. Everyone who knows me, knows I will sit in the middle of a group of any kind of furry thing that will pay me an ounce of attention.
But the other day, I was surprised by a lady standing in the middle of the street in front of our house. She was looking up into a tree with great intensity. With her hand shielding her eyes from the noon day sun, she was moving around to get a good look at something up there. She was not one of the neighbors and she was with a man who stood off from her not nearly as interested in what was in the tree as she was. The pair had emerged suddenly from a car that was partially parked. They were so intent that I thought they had lost a cat and had seen it up the tree.
She spent nearly five minutes circling the base, back and forth, hands on hips, squinting. Half way through her dance, the man went back to the car and waited for her. She paid him very little attention, her mind and soul was up that tree. When she decided to give up, I decided that if it was her cat, I would lend them my 13 foot extension ladder so that the man could rescue her precious pet. That was when I got gob-slapped by her reply.
“Do you need a ladder to rescue your cat?” I asked.
“Oh, there’s no cat up there,” she said in an authentic Irish brogue. “tis a squirrel.”
“Oh, cool,” I said, not really knowing how to respond to a grown woman being so fascinated by a mere fuzzy tailed urban rodent, no matter how cute they can be. She must have read the look of disbelief on my face.
“They don’t have them where I’m from,” said she, “terrible cute they are!”
“Yeah, they are.” I said – not quite selling the concept.
“Do ya think they’ll be coming down anytime soon?” she asked hopefully, wanting to observe them close up. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen a live one.”
“Doubt it,” I said, knowing that they would not be accommodating to her, the visitor. “They have a nest up there, made out of leaves, so they might not be back at all today.”
I was hoping to help the driver who was waiting for her to join him, while being sorry that she wouldn’t be able to get the rodents to co-operate.
She reluctantly walked back to the car and after a few more hopeful glances, got in. With her delighted child smile still in place, she waved happily at me, the killjoy. I waved back as they drove off. She made me wish that I had spent time training the neighborhood squirrels to come down for food, so that I could have given her the experience of fuzzy cuteness up close and personal.
*p.s. – the name for the nest is a Drey.
Yes, I can identify with that…the other day, as the cool to cold “breeze” made me shudder, I could have sworn that the cluster of tree branches were smiling (or smirking) at me. It drew my attention for more than a few seconds. I concluded that they were smiling at me (like those faces in the clouds), a natural formation that for a moment, seemed to have a personality and was making an emotional connection. The only thing I’d had to drink was a cup of tea….a mind is indeed, a terrible thing to waste and the imagination is resourceful.