Just what does it say about me that animals are increasingly providing my positive emotional highlights?
Curmudgeonly old age now approaching?
Please stand back behind the mellow line!
Just the other day, I was absolutely transported by an unexpected animal visitor who rocked up outside my front window.
Let me set the scene.
I am reading a book on the soft velvety Lincoln green couch that fits so perfectly into the alcoved recess to the left of the fireplace in our sitting room.
To my left, as I sprawl, is the large front window that looks out over our corner of the estate, an uninspiring vista of houses, tarmac driveways and parking spots; across the way, at least there is the neatly trimmed green space with swaying trees.
And the rosebush straggling the wall between the window and our front door is still just about in bloom, the tightly scrunched white blossoms adding a tincture of glamour to the spectacle.
This day, though, it’s cold, wet and miserable outside, the sky an ugly grey canvass tarpaulin flung carelessly over all of this mundanity.
But I am here in my cosy nook, the warm heft of Lily insinuated into my lap, one of her ears up and twitching, but otherwise she’s still … I am holding her left front paw in my own left hand, the spongy pad snugly in my palm, my thumb stroking the top of the paw, brailing the narrow curve of her ivory nails beneath the soft fur. As I read.
How do dogs know so much about affection?
The book in my right hand is a thing of wonder, I Capture The Castle, by Dodie Smith (perhaps best known now for writing The Hundred And One Dalmatians). Talking about it would take another post, or even two, such are its depths and delights.
Presently I am pleasantly adrift on one of those dreamy moments of reflection when you are no longer reading but dreaming out loud — good books or music do this to me.
My own creativity is often sparked in such reveries, and lines and phrases of my own, or observations, pop unannounced into my head. Like I am a visitor in the vaults of my own imagination.
A rustle of movement beneath the window catches my eye and the brush of a long, impossibly bushy tail is sweeping along the path from the left, like a bridal train.
What is that … why it’s a grey squirrel!
He or she hasn’t see me and I sure am not going to alert the drowsing Lily.
Stopping right in front of the front door, as if thinking of ringing the bell, and maybe asking for some food, he or she stands on its hind legs, revealing a magnificent snow-white pelt.
It scissors its paws a couple of times across that magnificently furred chest, in the cutest possible way, but maybe thinking better of dropping in unannounced, it comes back down on to all fours and scampers off around the corner.
It is nothing and it is everything, this fleeting vignette, and I could so easily have missed this moment of magic, which has given me a mild goosebumped vertigo, a quiver and whoosh of unexpected pleasure.
Who was this little visitor, and where did he come from?
If this were a Disney movie, would he be the adventurous, bright-eyed dreamer one, leaving his dull forest life behind him to seek his fortune, or has he been left behind by his unknowing pals or family, or maybe he’s foraging bravely alone far from his habitat because sustenance is scarce ?
I’m also thinking if someone had captured this little scene on their phone camera, they might be tempted to doctor it, or fake it up for Facebook or Instagram, so you might get this splendid little creature doing the can-can, or maybe rapping and swearing? Put sunglasses on him, maybe?
All I know is the vista in front of me looks different now … the leaves of the trees are vividly green and varying, and the grey-washed sky is all fleecy shade, light and contrast.
The grass is greener, the trees are swaying and hypnotising …
And still Lily dozes, with just the occasional snort and easy exhalation of contented breath.
*My Word of the Week (#WotW) is Squirrel
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