Wednesday, September 19, 2012

squirrels can swim

I was walking the dog down the Canal, swollen by last night's rain, and heard a splash like a rock had gone into the water.

I looked over and watched a drenched squirrel swim to the bank and, with what was probably my projection, climb up in the branch he had obviously fallen from with a great deal of embarrassment.

Well, of course I don't know for sure that squirrels can be embarrassed. (I said that was a projection....) But then, I didn't know squirrels could swim and obviously this one could. So who am I (who didn't know squirrels could swim, to say if they can be embarrassed? And how much other stuff don't I know about squirrels?

Can they add or subtract? Feel empathy, like for a member of their species that slips and falls in a canal? Do they remember which of the other squirrels is their mother or second-cousin? I know they can find the nuts they hide in the fall when winter is fierce. I also know that they've been able, on numerous occasions, to get into our attic and scuttle around over our heads. But what is poetry to a squirrel? What is passion? What is hope about?

I actually think of them as the rodent equivelant of pigeons. I tried to pay off a golden tail hawk we see out back from time to time to leave the bunnies be and come rid us of squirrels. He wouldn't accept my offer, being a hawk, which, whatever else I don't know about those birds, I know they don't use money. (Neither do squirrels, so far as I know....)

I really abhor squirrels and have often thought of getting an air-rifle to b-b them when they're digging up bulbs in our back yard or dropping their poo on our sidewalk or trying to get into our attic.

But, finally, my non-violent instinct overcame by irrational hatred of squirrels and I simply throw sea shells, which we have buckets of since Bern picks them up every September on Oak Island, at them.

But I must admit, seeing that one swim out of the canal and be embarrassed (if, indeed, he was capable of that emotion) made me rethink my relationship with sciuridae, which I found on Wickapedia is the scientific name for squirrels. Having to run around with 'sciuridae' as your scientific name is enough to make even a committed squirrel hater like me have some sympathy for them.

Specially when they fall into a canal....How embarrassing is that for a climbing rodent?

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.