S is for Squirrel

S is for Squirrel

The other day on my lunch break I took a stroll around the North Branch Library where I work. It was a pleasant sunny day and I was enjoying the Xeriscaping and minimalist architecture of the building.

All of a sudden, I hear rustling within one of the trees on the path. I look up curious. There before me slightly camouflaged was a cute little squirrel stirring about. It paused to examine me for a moment and then gave what seemed like a playful smile.  I smiled back, then it ran down the tree and scurried off into the bushes. I thought I heard laughing. Perhaps, echoes of the Disney movie I just watched the other night were embellishing this squirrel encounter. Perhaps, cute animal memes trending on social media are the reason why I thought I saw the cuddly little squirt wearing sunglasses. Despite anthropomorphizing the squirrel it was cool for sure!

I began contemplating squirrels.

I made notes in my journal asking philosophical questions, meditating upon the existential being of the mysterious squirrel.

This was not the first time I had an encounter with one. I have had several and I would assume that many reading have as well, for they are our ever present neighbors. Squirrels are so ubiquitous that we may even take for granted that we share lawns and the streets with these plucky rodent mammals? Anyone who has had roofing, electrical issues or near road collisions due to these little creatures may differ.

Nonetheless, what would life be like without our little friends, delighting some and annoying others? A depressing hypothetical IMO.

Another astonishing squirrel sighting I had was in 2006, on the campus of The University of North Texas. I was unaware of the albino squirrel on campus and its legendary status with UNT lore. I was walking to an early morning class, head in my notes preparing for an exam when suddenly there was the albino squirrel! I was perplexed and bemused. I watched it stand on its back legs, look around and then dash off! Like I previously mentioned, I was unaware of the albino squirrel on campus. Also, I had never seen one in general before. I was filled with wonder and slight horror as I made it to class telling one of my classmates about the strange experience. They informed me of its importance on campus, serving as an unofficial mascot, dispelling my notion that it may be a real life X-File. I felt lucky seeing it and took it as a chance sign of good fortune. I aced my test!

Spoiler Alert and Trigger Warning (squirrel fatality)

Not too long after that day I read in the NT Daily (https://news.unt.edu/news-releases/unt-now-home-two-albino-squirrels) that our albino squirrel had been killed by a hawk!  After reading the article I sighed and thought I heard The Circle of Life from The Lion King playing in the distance! Thanks Disney!

https://youtu.be/GibiNy4d4gc

What is a squirrel?

Think about it!

Here at the library we have books for all ages that address such naturalist ponderings. From children’s books to adult books that address the scientific examination of the Sciuridae (http://tolweb.org/Sciuridae) to works of literature, film and graphic art that muse upon our little friends!

Or go online using our WIFI or public access computers and stream videos and pics of squirrels wearing sunglasses and being goofy, creepy and adorable.

Andrew Hilburn-

 

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2 thoughts on “S is for Squirrel

  1. Despite the fact that without their bushy tails they would look like large rats, I have always been fascinated by the antics of squirrels. My interest may have started many years ago with my dad. While he was housebound, he took photos of squirrels, and one particularly good one is enlarged and on a shelf at my mom’s house. I take pictures of squirrels, too, and enjoy their acrobatics even when they are eating the food out if the bird feeder. Thanks for reminding me of the magic of these little critters.

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