I don’t know why I was so stunned to see a very large gray squirrel out of my Los Angeles studio apartment window. It was such a mystery to me how that happened. I only had TV news images of the LA riots or OJ Simpson evading police on the freeway in his white blazer and glove. The story of urban life to me must have been of no life at all except human. I have been mistaken.
I went for a morning walk in a nearby swanky neighborhood. It’s like a designer street with winding turns, manicured gardens in front of stuccoed homes carefully cared for. I saw trees with flowers. Yes. Trees with flowers. Of course trees have flowers at home in Maine. I can see the white apple blossoms in my mind now. But this. This was different. Purples, yellows, reds….flowers everywhere— in the trees, mind you. And there were limes and lemons hanging from some, heavy with juice, tempting me to take just one. Like Eve, I considered and most likely will.
Along the sidewalk are very tall palm trees lining the way. Something caught my eye on one of those palms…another squirrel. I paused. It paused. It lay flat, splayed against the trunk, legs spread, nails gripping, facing downward. Its neck extended back, brown eyes looking at me. Our eyes met. I crept closer. Our eyes locked in. For 5, 10, 15 minutes, we stayed connected. I listened carefully. That friend of mine looked deeply into my soul. I felt unnerved.
I heard a command. It was not a request. It was like a ransom note for this hostage to weigh in on. It said, “get still”. Not, “be still”. It was more of a directive, an order–Get Still.
However the squirrel race circles and circles, however the movement occurs, here, there, on a mountain, in a desert, in this jungle, the instructions are given….Get Still. Simple enough? Yes. Got it.