12 November 2009

Almost

In an animal's world of life and death, there is a fine line between almost and certain. I nearly crossed that line this morning.

My eyes caught a flash of gray too near to my tires on a rainy sidestreet and the good graces of German-made brakes, and my own still-responsive reflexes, kept me on the merciful side of that fine line. There was no impact. A life spared.

Still, I pulled over. I had to be sure by seeing the squirrel's face. I had to look into the eyes that, seconds ago, had been as terrified as mine still were.

I would see reassurance there. And I did. Briefly. All I saw after that was a scampering, spark-like, the flame of life still lit.

All I saw was the quickening of small feet followed by a tail, up the side of a stockade fence. I had not crossed that fine line, at least not in the rainy world of life and death this morning.

I exhaled and wiped my palms on my jeans, shifting back into drive. I went forward, following the squirrel's example.

6 comments:

Jan 4 Insight said...

Thank goodness your car, and you, are in such good shape! It's true, even the most careful driver can sometimes cross that line.

To cheer you up, I saw this years ago when I worked for the Forest Service: Several of us were in our FS truck, driving across the Sierra Nevada. Another truck was in front of us, and as we watched, we saw a beautiful Cailf gray squirrel race across the road, dive under the truck between its tires, come out the other side, and race up the roadbank - where he turned around, waved his magnificent tail, and chattered at us as we passed by! Some of us wondered if he'd done it on a dare!

squirrelmama said...

I love happy endings like that, Jan. Imagine the split second timing involved in something like that. If I had been the driver I think I might have needed some oxygen after that near-accident.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Happy Day!

chet said...

I'm glad you missed!

If I were to have a bumper sticker, it would be either I brake for squirrels or I brake for wildlife.

squirrelmama said...

I was so relieved to have missed. :-)
Chet, I may actually have the I BRAKE FOR WILDLIFE bumper sticker, if you want one. Let me check. If I do, you can e-mail me your address privately and I'll get one or two or three out to you!

merinz said...

Whew, gets the adrenalin going!