It began on a cold autumn day in Canada, this love affair. I was a poor student in need of lodgings and I was checking out a cosy basement apartment. Now generally, I am in the category of people who need the sky. The thought of being underground with only tiny windows at ground level from which to spy the heavens did not thrill me.
Yet the apartment had its charms, starting with the fact that there was a lovely wooden broadwalk through a small but enchanting garden. This led to the apartment’s entrance which was a pretty white door with a window to the world. Next, you had to descend a wooden, romantically spiral stairs to the apartment. The apartment was a one bedroom with a living room and a tiny kitchen but the hardwood flooring was another hook to my heart strings. I loved it. It had character. I told myself that could always come up and look at the sky like a groundhog does when he emerges from his burrow.
Having pretty much decided that I would be telling the nice, old and slightly deaf French landlady that I would be calling that Hobbit hovel home for the next two years, I came back to the surface. That was when our paths crossed. The squirrel and I.
He was there, no doubt to visit with the pretty young girl who had been the previous tenant. He sized up the situation quickly, his eyes darting between the tiny, darkened windows to the apartment dungeon and at me. There was an intellegence behind his dark eyes that immediately caught my attention. He seemed to deflate with the realisation that the young girl was gone to be replaced by this paleskinned wonder. He looked at me again more critically, his gaze moving up and down.
I made various silly animal voices to entice first contact but I am fairly sure that he decided all was not lost when he noticed that I just happened to have a bag of blanched peanuts in one of my hands. With that, he went into social mode and did what I latter knew to be his dance enticement routine that soon parted the human fool from his peanuts.
I would name him, “Spikey” for the many subsequent mornings, he would come by for breakfast with his fur spiked and disarrayed from restless slumber. He would eventually introduce me to a whole cast of comic and tragic characters. Speedy, Sneaky, Loonie, Patches, Lizzie and others were to be my regular companions and in turn, they would be my guides, allowing me glimses in to squirrel world.
Later I realise that many people have their corresponding squirrel-types. I invite you to join me as the lone grey squirrel rants about the world through squinty squirrel-opened eyes.