Looking out the kitchen window this morning, bright blue sky with the sun shining. Ideal for a walk in the woods.
After parking in the nearby carpark, I followed a well-worn leafy path through the trees. As the trail went right, I stopped dead in my tracks as in front of me some ten or so meter on the ground was a squirrel feeding. Time stood still as we both stared at each other for what seemed an eternity.
Slowing moving my hand towards my pocket and removing a handful of peanuts I tossed a few on the ground a few feet in front of me. To my amazement, the squirrel moved forward and started to eat the peanuts.
Slowly kneeling on the ground, I held some peanuts in my open hand, hoping the squirrel would be brazen enough to take them. A few moments had passed before the squirrel casually moved forward and accepted my offer, I was dumbfounded but delighted at the same time.
I continued to feed the squirrel before he turned and scampered onto a tree branch, but not before turning and looking in my direction, wagging his tail and disappearing out of sight.
Getting to my feet, I continued my walk through the woods without any more incidents.
A couple of days later with the weather being bright and dry I parked in the nearby carpark by the forest again. With eager anticipation, I started to approach the right bend in the path where my encounter with the squirrel had taken place a few days earlier. My heart sunk, as I rounded the bend, not a squirrel in sight.I left a few peanuts under the tree branch the squirrel jumped on the other day, and continued my walk with a heavy heart.
Well, I could not get the squirrel out of my head so the following day I returned to the forest in search of my friend. To my delight as I rounded the bend in the path some meters in front of me was a squirrel feeding.
Again I went down on one knee and offered a handful of peanuts to my friend.
After what seemed an age the squirrel moved forward and started to eat out of my hand.What an absolute delight my heart was pumping this was marvellous. The squirrel looked up at me for a while before jumping on his branch and disappearing. I was feeling elated as I continued my walk.
That day will live in my memory forever.
Over the following weeks and months, I continued my walks in the forest, but alas I never encountered that squirrel again.
Michael Conway is a writer from Loughborough, UK. He writes about aspects of everyday life often taken for granted. At present, he is working on his third novel and a collection of short stories. Click here to visit his website, Sparrowfoot.
Photo by Nicola Colombo