I got up this morning, inspired to write about the lost art of letter writing. Turned on my computer, flexed my fingers, put on my contemplative face, dug down for my deepest thoughts, took a long, soulful breath, and then... I looked out the window.
Fall is in its middle age. The brisk winds that precede winter, like honor guards precede high school bands in home town parades, have long blown through and stripped the trees of their fiery, vibrant foliage. Outside, the line between sunrise and gray sky paints a leading edge that is harsh, then melts as the morning sun tips over the horizon.
And on the limbs of the tree outside my office window are two squirrels. Getting it on.
At this stage, I could go in so many directions. I could take the Marty Stouffer's Wild America approach (except that this is Urban America.)
"In the waning days of fall, the North American Grey Squirrel can be seen frolicking in its urban habitat in search of nuts and delectable bits of food that will store well over the long, cold winter. Before hibernating in their residential tree condo, they will prepare for next year's offspring by mating...."
Or, we could go National Geographic here.
"The grey squirrel, a descendant of Australchipamunkeus, has evolved over millions of years to develop the means to breed while clinging to tree limbs from heights of more than 50 feet. Unlike their early ancestors, who crept erect out of the primordial goo, today's modern squirrel is a rodent equipped to deal with the harshest conditions while remaining a beloved, comical sprite...."
Or, we could do Reader's Digest.
"The squirrel: its grayness blending into the onset of winter's gray is the ideal friend to urban and suburban dwellers alike. As winter creeps into shades of gray and brown and muck, the squirrel scampers about as a beacon that spring will again arrive with renewal and hope." (Condensed from The Squirrel: Its Grayness and Ours, by Ross Geller, Ph.D.)...
Seriously, though, folks. I know some people are totally wigged out by squirrels and think of them as nothing more than "urban rats" or "rodents with bushy tails." But I find them adorable.
Watching these two get frisky is more fun that you'd think.
They're dancing, engaging in gentle, but outspoken fisticuffs. He, saying, "I want you, mon chere. I will have you. You will be the mother of my babies. Come to me, mi amor..." She, saying, "You horny bastard! Stand back. You'll get yours when I feel good and ready. Watch it, or I might get a headache..."
They circle and dive around the limbs. He, trying to catch her. She, trying to outrun him. He's in hot pursuit, she's in a cold run.
This scene has been playing out over and over again for the last thirty minutes...
Eventually, he grabs her and, since this is a family-friendly website, we'll now queue the pretty music and you can use your vivid, starved imaginations for a few minutes.
Oh, wait. Yep. I think he's scored. She's leaving in a huff with occasional stops to groom herself. He's... wait... yep, he just leaned back in the crook of the limb and lit a cigarette.