Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Awesome Opossum

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

By Tiber 

Tonight I found my sister, Iris Nell, crying – not an unusual state for the most sensitive girl on the planet.

She’d heard that late last night, Ben, one of the security guys, had seen a strange shape on the ground. It turned out to be a very old and gray opossum who had died. Nothing had injured him. It really did just look as if he’d died of old age. So Ben put his gloves on, put the old opossum in a sack and took him off to the shed for disposal tomorrow.

And that’s when he heard the funny “rooting around” noises back over in the area where he had found the body. He went to check it out and there, in the moonlight, he saw a small pack of younger opossums searching all over where the older opossum had died. The older animal must have sent out some kind of signal of his distress and demise and the others in some weird way had picked up on it and come to see if they could help. Ben said he’d never seen anything like it. And it was pretty sweet.

Dad saw Iris Nell crying and this upsets him. So when she repeated the story to him, he finally got her to laugh a little again by saying,

“You know, I expect all of you kids to do the same thing if you even suspect that I’m in trouble. Every one of you better come sniffing after me, even if I’m in a neighbor’s yard and it’s midnight, in winter, with a curfew on and a hail storm blasting.”

Iris Nell thanked Dad for being silly and making her smile again.

Dad waited until she had gone and then he grabbed my arm.

“You do know I actually meant that, right?”

“Yeah, Dad. I got it.”

Squirrel World

Monday, November 16th, 2009

By Tiber

I was watching squirrels yesterday.
 
Can you tell who has no relationship and no job?
 
Oh, shut up. You’re probably the kind of person who mocks a sophisticated appreciation for the intricacies of nature as expressed by our tree-dwelling- oh, dear God, I have no relationship and no job.
 
So, yes, I was watching squirrels and one of them caught my eye. He seems healthy. His weight is good. He darts around, has a lot of energy. But he has no bushy tail.
 
He has a tail. It’s just not bushy like the other squirrels. His looks more like a piece of string.
 
So how did it get this way?
 
Did he get it stuck somewhere and then shear it off? Is he an over-groomer? Did his mother have that one date with a rat that she’d really prefer not to discuss? 
 
Maybe this squirrel is just naturally different. Maybe he was born that way.  Then what if the other squirrels are just pretending to be eating nuts, when, in reality, they’re laughing at him behind their paws?
 
…Did I mention that I have no relationship and no job?
 
Once, my sister, Iris Nell, became hysterical because she saw a squirrel spread-eagled over an electrical box, its little paws dangling limply over the sides. My mother called to get someone to remove the little guy’s body so it wouldn’t upset any more children but when she asked for the “Rodent Patrol,” they hung up on her.
 
Fortunately, the squirrel suddenly jumped up on his own and scurried off. Turns out, they sometimes lie like that just to cool off.
It was a good thing that I knew this because today, I caught the rat-tailed squirrel in that same position on a tree branch, his paws hanging motionlessly over the sides.
 
In my morose condition, I would have worried that he’d fallen into his own depression over the other squirrels mocking his tail and then I would have felt obligated to go out and buy him a pecan pie.