About three years ago, I wrote the beginnings of a story about a squirrel that lived in a spruce tree outside our townhouse in Calgary. His name was Doug. Doug was the loudest, brashest, and ugliest squirrel on earth but he had a sort of streetwise, junkyard dog kind of charm about him. He used to sit in the tree and lob acorns at our elderly dog. The dog, determined to nap in his patch of sunlight, ignored him causing Doug to collapse into what can only be described as apoplectic fits of rage.
I miss Doug. Sort of.
This morning, on my back deck here in Toronto was a squirrel of another sort. She was large with a gorgeous fluffy tail. Her left front paw was injured. She sat facing my back door and as I looked out the door at her, our eyes met. Even though her brain is roughly the size of a walnut, I knew that squirrel hated me, wanted me dead. I could see it in her little beady black eyes.
Ms. Squirrel and I have been locked in mortal combat for the past week. I am ahead in the fight but my position is tenuous at best. She just hasn’t managed to chew another hole in my house yet since I had wildlife wranglers out to close up her last entry point. I’ve displaced her and her family from their nice cozy nest in my roof. Today, it’s pouring rain and they’ve been evicted. I guess I’d be pissed off too.
Ms. Squirrel no doubt has sore teeth along with her sore paw. She has been trying to chew through a metal eavestrough as well as through a clever contraption called a one-way door (made of metal mesh) that is now protruding from the side of my house. This is the second such door we’ve had to install because Ms. Squirrel managed to mangle the first one (no doubt leading to her foot injury).
The wildlife wrangler (who is supposedly well-versed in such things) assured me Ms. Squirrel’s babies were old enough to be mobile and get themselves out of the nest without help from their mother. The look on Ms. Squirrel’s face this morning leaves me doubting this. The fact that she’s willing to do herself harm to get back into that hole makes me wonder and causes me to lose sleep at night. After all, I am a mother too. I don’t like to think about not being able to get to my children. (Right now, one of my kids is camping by the shores of some mosquito-ridden lake in Haliburton, no doubt cold,wet and not wearing the emergency rain poncho I tucked into her duffle and it pains me).
Yes, there was anger and resentment on that tiny squirrel face this morning. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her as she sat in the pouring rain. Her foot hurts, her teeth hurt. I kind of wanted to give her an apple core or something. A peace offering. And then I remembered that she chewed a hole in my house. I turned my back on her and walked away but with a heavy heart.
I should probably watch my back the next time I step outside…