12 November 2009


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.


Jan4insight 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!