Mike and I drive to work together. Sometimes he drops me off, and sometimes I walk from his office to mine. When I walk, I always see a fellow feeding the critters from the edge of a parking lot. He throws breadcrumbs (I think) by the handful. The gulls are closest to him, but he specifically turns his body so he can throw in a different direction to smaller birds who wouldn’t get into the fray with the gulls. He seems to save some for the few squirrels who slowly, tentatively cross the street to where he is. It’s pretty great to watch.
When his bag is empty, he walks down the street in the same direction that I do. Sometimes, he has a different bag for a different collection of birds and squirrels in a different area. Smaller birds in the lee of an un-square building.
There’s a squirrel in my neighbourhood that lost its tail. It’s got a little nub, like a rabbit. When I first saw it, I wasn’t sure what it even was, it moved with the slow grace of a squirrel, without the ripple of the bushy tail behind it. That was at least 3 years ago, and I’m always pleased to see that it’s still around. I’ve never seen it climb the tree or the rails on my porch. It doesn’t sit on the railing so I can watch it from inside. It hops along the ground, doin’ it’s squirrel thang.
When we were in MacDonald’s Corners, we fed the deer. Some winters they needed it more than others, and I enjoyed the molasses-scent that permeated the area where I spread it. One winter there was a fawn with a head of wild fur that went in all different directions. This fawn was fueled more by it’s hunger than its wariness of being close to my house. It’s mother was on high alert, tail flicking, ears rotating. But the little fawn nuzzled at the ground without regard for what might be around him. That’s what moms are for.
There’s a whole flock of little barn swallows that nest in the Alice in Wonderland Hedge. Sometimes, an owl shows up during the night with huge swooping wings. Sometimes, I see bats in the summer twilight. In the winter, there are tiny paw prints in the dusting of snow on the driveway.
Other than the (coming real soon now) time when my neighbourhood squirrels get super entitled and eat my porch decorations minutes after I close the front door on them, I like sharing space with wild things. So this fellow with his bag of breadcrumbs is a nice start to my day. He reminds me to be a good steward. Share my excess with those who might be less flush. Be gentle.
Inspiration comes in many places. From a rumplehaired deer, and a tail-less squirrel, and a guy with a shopping bag in a parking lot.