Sitting quietly under a cedar tree, I hear a short scuffling of claws against bark above my head. I look up to see a squirrel, frozen in its tracks after noticing me, looking back at me from a low branch.
I smile and avert my gaze as it continues to eye me, unmoving for a good while.
I anthropomorphize and wonder what it’s thinking. Being an animal it’s main ’emotion’ is likely one of fear – i.e. ‘will the large creature below me suddenly spring up to pounce and eat me?’, but if it experienced other emotions, maybe it would feel curiosity, wonder, disgruntled, annoyed, uncertainty, judgement?…..
A short while later, it appears it has decided what to do, which is to crawl quietly to a higher branch, and then start ‘moaning’/ ‘yelling’ at me – as squirrels do with their whiney, crying, screechy sounds.
I couldn’t see the spot it had chosen to display its ‘annoyance’ towards me, so again I just smiled and let it get on with its ‘moaning’.
I wondered too if squirrels feel fear when leaping from tree to tree, or worry about what might happen if they don’t make it! It does appear so at times, as, getting to the edge of a branch, they sometimes pause, eyeing up the gap between one set of foliage and their next landing platform, and occasionally changing their mind, heading back the way they’ve come, in search for an alternative route to cross – sometimes having to scurry all the way down to the ground and make a risky dash across open ground before hastily climbing up the next trunk.
Back to the squirrel in question, after it had finished making a racket, its ‘anger’ released, it came back down the same branch, and, perhaps deciding the creature (i.e. me) was not a threat, hopped down onto the ground to resume its foraging.