by GENIE DICKERSON
I walked alongside the road slowly, silently marveling at nature’s family of butterflies, wild blackberries and cottonwood trees in the woods beside me, and oblivious to an approaching squirrel. To passing drivers, I must have looked like a pedestrian deep in thought. I trust the drivers were more aware of the road than I was. And more alert than the squirrel.
Facing traffic, I stepped my way along the shoulder of a four-lane arterial. On my left lay a wooded bog. To my right traffic whizzed by. Across the road stood a row of trees and a blueberry farm.
The small gray squirrel, by size appearing to be a youngster, crossed the road in front of traffic. It may have been returning from a morning excursion to the blueberry farm. Its head was cocked 90 degrees, concentrating on the road and onslaught of motorized vehicles.
In my daze I never saw the critter until it had already dashed in front of traffic and was bounding for my walkway. At the last second it turned its eyes toward my shoes. It charged my feet and gave me time only to hesitate in my step and bring my feet together.
Momentum prevented the squirrel from anything but a leap onto one brown leather shoe and then the next and then back onto the ground. Eight inches beyond my toe, it stopped and pulled its tail forward over its back in a graceful arch. It turned its head slightly, looking with one eye back with an expression that said, “What was THAT I just sailed over?”
In my daze I never saw the critter until it had already dashed in front of traffic and was bounding for my walkway.
From there it bolted between trees and down into tall grass bordering the standing water of the bog. It disappeared with a final flick of its tail, punctuating, “Just another surprise hurdle to jump!”
This was one of those double daze days. The squirrel overcame its obstacle smoothly. I would do the same with any surprise problem. What a blessing when one of God’s creatures runs across another.
GENIE DICKERSON is a freelance writer from Washington.