Thursday, December 09, 2010

Call of the Wild

I'm still not watching any news to speak of; in fact I'm paying as little attention as a Washingtonian can to politics -- though I'm peripherally exposed to the machinations of the Kleptocracy by the Lobbyist's daily lot.

It's been very good for my writing, I think. It's like sublimation or something. The psychic energy and scribbler's urge I don't expend on civic eternal vigilance come back to me in the form of intellectual and literary foment. We'll see what comes of this.

Still, I feel the urge to blog a bit. So, I will, on whatever subject. For instance, last night I was running through the frigid darkness and just turning the corner for the last third of a mile up my street, when, just at the top of my peripheral vision I saw something blurry and scurrying on a big tree beside the street. I was an obsessive naturalist as a child and last night I was a bit amazed at how quickly my internalized field guide came back to me. In the space of about a stride my brain-pan flashed "Flying squirrel." I stopped and turned back and circled the tree until I found the little critter splayed head-down against the trunk. As soon as I spotted him he turned and zipped up and around the trunk, in a sort of lightning-fast, hyperpprecise movement that reminds one of hummingbird flight. I eased around the tree some more and spotted the squirrel again, now peering down from the crotch of the tree's great bifurcation, little wombat-eyes shining eerily in the backscattered streetlight. I clapped my hands just to see it move again, and up the tree it zipped, and away, seeming about ten times as fast as a normal squirrel. I ran on, enchanted for a good while, and thinking back to the time when my late sister and I trapped a couple of flying squirrels in our wooden box-trap, on the edge of the Fort Belvoir woods, maybe fifteen miles from my current home. We peered at them for a day and then let them loose. Apparenty they're not that rare but they are nocturnal, and so rarely seen.

This morning, in at trap in my kitchen, there was a mouse, peering up at me with the same sort of black beady eyes. I was rather less enchanted to see him -- perhaps because he's been crapping on my kitchen counters. It's all context I guess.


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