i walked out the back door and came upon a squirrel scarfing down sunflower seeds beneath the bird feeder. as i approached he scurried away up the redbud tree, as usual.
then, suddenly, he stopped a few feet from the ground, turned, fixed his gaze upon me, and started into a very strange soliloquy:
"is this all there is, then? up and down the trees all day, jumping from branch to branch, living paw to mouth, waiting to see if a bird off-hand drops a seed or two for me for nurishment, or digging in the ground on the chance that there might be something to eat buried there?"
"mating a few times a year with god only knows who...never the same one twice. can't build any kind of relationship like that, can you? kids move away and never come around to give me any thanks."
"always afraid that someone's going to shoot me and have me for a stew? fleas eating me alive and no aloe vera or anything like that to stop the irritation--you live, eat, sleep, mate, and die. and who remembers you when you're gone? 5 generations from now...in a year or so...no one will even remember my name."
"and then there's you, coming out six, seven times a day scaring the daylights out of me, interrupting my eating. it's not fair. there's got to be more to life than this, doesn't there?"
at least that's what i heard him saying.
we stood there in silence for a while, face to face in the garden. i tried to come up with something comforting to say, but had no words for an existential rodent with a furry tail. looking a bit disappointed at my lack of response, he darted into the canopy of the trees and was gone, leaving me wondering at the strangeness of it all.
it did make me feel a little better about my lot in life, i must admit.