Thursday, October 13, 2011

Older Wisdom: Tux 35 - Squirrelly Behavior

We were in the park the other day and saw something I’d never seen before. First, though, I heard a new sound. It wasn’t yet another bird’s song I didn’t recognize. The sound sounded familiar yet wasn’t. So what was it?
Tux spotted a movement on a tree and stopped dead in his tracks staring at a tree about 20 feet in front of us. Grace was unperturbed and continued her quest for new smells in the three-inch-high grass. 
I looked around trying to see what had caught Tux’s attention. There was nothing that I could see that was out of the ordinary. In the distance, I saw the Mallards amiably strolling toward their neck of the woods and the pond in the ravine. Across the street from the park, the Westies were sunning themselves in the early morning sun. Nope, nothing extraordinary going on in the park. But Tux was like a statue - standing rigidly still, one front paw pulled up in his classic hunter’s stance. 
As I looked up in the direction that Tux was staring in so intently, I finally saw what he had seen. It was a squirrel. Nothing unusual about seeing a squirrel in the park. This squirrel though, was quite different. He had a plastic cup in his mouth. And he wasn’t about to drop it just because some Cocker Spaniel hunter came into view. He was angry at being disturbed. He was chittering at us, but the sound came out muffled as he chittered behind his cup.
The squirrel had stopped in his tracks and was starring at Tux. Tux stared back at the squirrel. I stared at the squirrel. The squirrel ignored me. It was Tux he was interested in. Grace finally figured out that Tux and I were mesmerized by something so she looked in the direction we were looking. She saw the squirrel and then she looked at me as if to ask what was so interesting about a silly old squirrel?
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’d never seen a squirrel carrying even a branch let alone a plastic cup. I couldn’t imagine what had struck this squirrel about the cup. One thing was for sure, though, he was not going to drop his cup. Before I could dig my iPhone out of my pocket to take a photo of the squirrel, he was on the move.
The squirrel surprised me. Instead of heading up the tree and to safety, he came down the tree toward the ground. What was he thinking? Down he came. About six inches from the ground, he jumped down. Sprinting toward another tree, he jumped onto it and scurried upward.
In the meantime, we all stood stock still watching the squirrel. He never dropped his precious cup. I surmised he had headed to his home tree. I suspected, too, he had a nest in the tree he risked life, limb, and cup to reach. I looked upward, but saw no discernible nest in the boughs of the large tree. 
Tux was reluctant to leave the scene. He undoubtedly thought that either the squirrel with his cup still firmly gripped between his teeth would return or this was a trend and another squirrel with a cup would come down the tree. Neither event occurred and I dragged him back onto the path and on to our morning walk.
Lesson Learn:
Keep an eye out for the unexpected.

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