The snow came down in big, clumpy, freezing torrents. Christmas morning. And he was outside, with no home, no family, no gifts, no compassion, no nothing.
He looked around. Christmas was everywhere … festive lights strung on house porches, loads of parked cars in front of family dwellings, the sounds of children laughing and cheering, the voices of carolers and travelers.
And he was by himself. Nothing to do but trudge through the piling snowflakes.
He thought about what had happened in his world. No one would ever take him in, no matter how hard he pleaded and begged. They chased him away, told him never to come back, called him filthy and disgusting and a menace.
He wasn’t a menace. He didn’t want anyone to think he was a menace. Just give him a snack, and he’d be happy and on his way.
Why, it was only a year ago that he was on the streets of Albany, digging for leftover French fries from a nearby garbage can. It’s so cold out here in December. He shivered. He thought about approaching the front door of one of the dwellings, with the thought of being chased away keeping him from that simple brave moment.
Maybe if he walked along the road, he thought, checking the houses from stoop to stoop, maybe some kind pure soul would leave him a morsel, a crumb, a leftover piece of cake or a sliver of pumpkin pie. Or maybe even some French fries, he wasn’t picky.
Then he saw it.
Someone had left some small tidbits of food. Out among the snowflakes.
It was a miracle. Just enough sustenance for him to eat in private. To not bother anyone. Just enough for a small Christmas feast.
Mmm, he thought, it’s cold but it’s edible. Tasty. Munch munch.
And then he looked up. Someone was watching him eat. Someone was watching from the window of the warm house.
He thought about running.
He thought about begging for more food.
And in that tiny moment between fight and flight…
He saw the person take a picture … and a moment later, the draperies closed.
The squirrel, undaunted and unfazed by his discovery, continued to eat the remaining bird seeds from the feeders, then went back to his tree to enjoy the last few hours of Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all. And when the holidays come around next year …
Leave a few acorns or walnuts for those who also keep your gardens free of pests and vermin. 😀