click

click

At first it was hard to discern. Then I looked closer…

It was a squirrel, lying there, spread-eagle on the concrete (if one can say that of squirrels).

click

click

I thought he was dead. Dead of heat prostration. Sure, that’s what must have killed him. It was, after all, 114 degrees this day.

I’d probably be dead myself if my air-conditioner broke down. Or if I didn’t have unlimited access to water. Or a roof over my head. If I were not so damned privileged. If I weren’t a human being.

Dam Dry

click

What does this squirrel have? A world of weather out of control. With his state’s weather leading the way. A five-year California drought that he knows nothing of. Nor has any responsibility for. Nor any escape from.

click

click

I look out my suburban window each morning, a cup of tea in hand, my fiber cereal and juice waiting for me on the counter. My internet Jazz Station gently surrounding my head with perfect saxophone harmonies.

I watch a few squirrels racing along the power lines, clambering up the tree trunks, diving between branches. They look like they’re having fun.

And maybe they are. For this moment or two.

But their real life is all around them. Their whole life. Their kitchen. Their bathroom. Their bedroom. Living room. And front porch.

They forage for their food in these trees. They seek water in these yards, sneaking to the edge of my pool, alert to the goshawks that shadow them, nervous about the neighbor’s cat or dog. Or a kid with a rock or pellet gun.

click

click

Their drama plays out daily beneath the insolent sky and oblivious earth.

And today, things are tough for this little squirrel.

Tough enough that he risks lying in plain sight on the concrete deck to garner a degree or two of cooler temp from the concrete slab. Notice in the photo above that his tail is arched into the air to catch a breeze, though no breeze blows today.

click

click

I zoom my camera closer. The noise startles him and he comes to life, lifts to four paws, ready to retreat. I see that his tail is mostly shed of fur. What happened here, I wonder?

Was he attacked by something and narrowly escaped? Or did he chew off the fur himself in an effort to cool his fever, the way we might take off a sweater or pajama top? Or has he been shamed his whole life by some birth anomaly that makes bald his tail?

Hard to tell with squirrels. They don’t say much. Nor do they ask for much. Please, just a cool spot in the shade when the world spins out of control.

I slip back into the house, glad to grant him his privacy and a space to rest, to recover from the harsh realities of his world.

He’s not alone, of course. He cannot be alone. As we cannot be alone. We are all in this together.

And that connectedness was again made clear to me today. In spite of my suburban home. My suburban pool. My deck. And patio furniture. And BBQ. And on and on and on…

click

click

Even my Bhudda looking over it all will not insulate me, nor any of us, from the realities that await.

Spacer Line

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click

Spacer Line

I hope someone will grant us the same moment’s pause as these realities close in. A moment to find our own cool shadow of concrete before the blazing heat is upon even as we wait for rain.

 

 

 

 

One Response to A Dead Squirrel On Concrete

  1. Mary M says:

    Seems like the whole world is struggling to deal with extreme climate. Forest fires raging in the West and devastating floods in the East of the country.
    Then there is the political turmoil everywhere. The world looks on with amazement at the USA, hoping some degree of sanity will emerge before November! Here in Australia, where voting is compulsory, we have a Federal Election on Saturday. Our 2 major parties are closer in their ideals than in USA, but are nevertheless hurling as much abuse at each other as possible! Then there is the UK!!!! What a mess! How do you feel about your country of origin Frank? Personally, I’m glad I emigrated! I kind of envy the squirrel 🙂

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