Partly Cloudy With a Chance of Squirrel

by Tom Swift

This morning’s walk began with a first: I was touched by a squirrel.

No — not in that way (you sickie).

The little buddy and I were stroking along the southbound sidewalk, approaching a young woman waiting for her early-a.m. bus. To maintain distance, I steered us slightly onto the edge of the lawn of a nearby house. That is when the squirrel dropped out of a tree branch I wasn’t even aware was above me and right onto my chest. Fortunately, the squirrel did not stay long, bounding down and quickly across the street safely ahead of the woman’s soon-to-be approaching bus.

“Was that a squirrel?” she asked. I had made audible utterances though nothing resembling words. “Those squirrels up there” — she pointed to the tree — “they are crazy. I don’t know what’s going on this morning but they have just been crazy.”

I can’t speak to my bosom buddy’s sanity but without question he did not follow Dr. Fauci’s guidelines for social distance.

Because I am a fan of symbolism, I took to the interweb to search for meanings ascribed to squirrels generally, if not squirrels on one’s chest specifically. One commonality on the highly authoritative sources I consulted — spirit-animal.com was one that came up, but you probably knew that — was to have more fun and take life less seriously. Well, OK. You caught me there, flying squirrel. I have been so charged before.

Very probably the fact that I looked up the meaning is a case in point.

Another source, universeofsymbolism.com, offered a different interpretation that would come into play on the back half of the same walk. You’ll think I am making this up but that would severely overstate the powers of my imagination.

Here is the interpretation: The squirrel “also loves a bargain and knows where to find it, he knows the houses that have the goods he wants overflowing in gardens and patios …”

Here is what happened: Meandering from a usual path, we walked down to and along the river parkway and then turned into the neighborhood of fine homes that align that thoroughfare. A block after the turn we encountered a stack of four chairs — yes, they were patio chairs — with a “Free” sign on them. I have needed additional outdoor furniture for more than a year now but have been reluctant to spend money in this area given higher financial priorities, the fact that I host seldom (especially during a pandemic), and the length of the season in which such furniture can be used. And, well, the stack of plastic Adirondack-style seats we found go well with the little outdoor furniture I already have. And you can’t beat the “bargain” price.

The little buddy and I carried those chairs all the way home, 10 blocks or so. Occurs to me now that I did this by holding the chairs against my chest.