When we left the café parking area the sky was a bit overcast but the late afternoon was delightfully busy with birds, bees and squirrels. It’s baby-season here for squirrels. Well, I guess maybe some of them are in their teens now. My friend was about to turn the car right onto Whipple Avenue, a main drag leading to a freeway. She stopped first to check for through traffic. Less than a half-block up the cars were at a standstill. Why? Finally we glimpsed a tiny squirrel huddled in the middle of the street. Some people left their cars. A quiet crowd gathered but no one beeped a horn. No one shouted. No one cursed in anger. Remarkable! Such uncharacteristic behavior, especially for commute time.
Since there were no cars behind us on the side street, we sat waiting to see what would happen. It appeared everyone was suspended mid-breath until a utility worker stepped out of the crowd and scooped up the poor thing. A large rough and tumble sort of fellow, he was petting it and cooing to it as he walked away, clearly pleased and not at all self-conscious. As drivers returned to their cars and started back down Whipple, I found myself smiling. What a delight: human beings at their kind and courteous best and the power of a wee creature to still our little corner of the world. It was a moment of grace and compassion juxtaposed against the stresses of a fractious presidential campaign and a citizenry anxiously awaiting election outcomes.
This post is dedicated to my neighbor, Jeanette, and her pet squirrel.
© words, Jamie Dedes; photo Babbage under the CC A 2.0 Generic license