Bug Tails - "Bug Went Hunting"
The plunk of acorns falling on the ground from two ancient oak trees was the only other disruption to the quiet serenity of the day. The accompanying disruption to the sound of falling acorns was the soft steady snores of old Libby, spread-eagle on her back, napping and basking in the warmth from the sun. A perfect fall day---temperature in the mid-seventies, unblemished blue sky, and the air calm as a sated woman.
Bug, sprawled flat on his belly, was snuggled tight against my thigh. Me? I was sitting on the top step of the deck thinking “man-thoughts”.
Two fat squirrels, one black and one reddish-brown scurried into view and hurried under the oak trees. Bug stiffened. A low growl rumbled in his throat. This ought to be interesting, I thought. The squirrels began to gather acorns. Libby continued to snore.
He hadn’t attempted to move yet, but Bug’s body was taunt as the waist band of a pair of too small underwear. I glanced down at Bug and saw that the hair on the back of his neck was bristled straight up. He was trembling too.
It didn’t take long for the squirrels to have their cheek pouches stuffed full with acorns. They rose up and curled their tails like squirrels do. Both looked around to survey the surroundings then scampered off in the direction from which they had arrived. Bug twitched. I put a hand on his shoulders and told him to stay…that the squirrels would return soon. He sighed, his body relaxed, and he leaned a little tighter against my leg.
Sure enough, about five minutes later the two squirrels reappeared. I felt Bug tense like a compressed spring. The squirrels chattered briefly to each other then resumed the gathering of acorns.
Bug launched! No threatening growl, no warning bark. He just launched himself from the deck and landed on the ground at a full run. The squirrels rose to their haunches and focused on Bug as he charged directly toward them. They separated. The black squirrel dashed toward the oak tree to the east, the red squirrel toward the oak to the west. Oh-ho, I thought, Bug has a dilemma!
You’re familiar with the phenomenon of being expected to be at two different places at the same time…aren’t you? Yep, when the squirrels separated at the last possible instant before Bug’s arrival, Bug’s head and shoulders followed the direction of the black squirrel and his hind-end started in the direction of the red. Ass-over-teakettle he went! He tumbled down the short grassy slope just beyond the two oak trees to disappear over the top of the seawall. I heard the splash and saw the small geyser of water when Bug landed in the lake.
I now think squirrels are capable of laughter. The high-pitched chatter that came from within the gold leafed canopies of the oak trees sounded like squirrel laughter to me.
Old Libby grunted, rolled onto her side, and continued to snore. Me? I went to see if Bug had learned how to swim yet.