When I run on the Central Park track, I’m always in the company of squirrels starting their day. I usually walk a bit, just to observe their busyness. They also remind me to stay present since they never seem worried about anything but what’s in front of them.
I’ve started carrying nuts in my pocket to be more polite. I am in their backyard after all, plus hailing from Connecticut you always bring a little something when you come a’ callin.
They were so charmed by this, parents with a boy and girl I’ll say, 10 and 12. The father with his super-duper camera motioned for me to do it again, so we had, take 2 of me feeding the same squirrel. The first time he buried it, second, snacked. When I gave him a third he seemed to play catch. If I didn’t know better I would have thought he was a professional athlete.
I gave the boy a peanut to show how to hold it after a few more squirrels arrived until we had quite a team. I had visions of my guy yelling, hey, breakfast is being served, come and get it.
Now the daughter looked scared as hell hiding behind her mom, and in what sounded Swedish, her brother clearly teasing her over it. I know what it’s like to be afraid of something no one else seems afraid of. I remember being terrified to dive into the Easton pool alongside my show-off cousins, even though the water wasn’t even over my head. The humiliation as they laughed at me is still somewhere in the back of my closet.
I knew a quart of confidence was needed here in a really big way.
I approached the girl smiling, offering her a nut. I demonstrated again how easy it would be, crouching behind her like a catcher for the Mets. Suddenly nature pulled one of her famous pranks, when a baby raccoon appeared like a special guest as the squirrels gathered around as if they all went to the same school.
She was over the moon, as was I because now she had one over her big brother, plus Dad had it all on film.
Let’s hear it for Mother Nature who knew better than anyone, this young lady needed a home run, as we watched her doff her cap as she ran around the bases.