Walking through the hills when the sun plays on the trees and my eyes follow the wind to make everything seem like a strange video game… The shaking grass and the giant television of clouds rolling across sky, the birds in flight, the tiny little insects coming up to me to say hi, as if I were very popular king (I pretend I am.)
The little invertebrates! They never interested me before, but now I see they are like miniature moving pets or ephemeral pieces of jewelry. The fine detail in the hairs on their legs, the oily colors in their wings, the antennas always seeking, always sensing. I cannot believe I am witness to this kind of animation in real-time, 3D.
Then there are the squirrels, which always remind me of cats. We make eye contact and immediately I want to get to know this squirrel. What is it doing in the afternoon? What is its age? What is its sex? How do I impress this squirrel?
I get down lower to show the squirrel that I am non-threatening. The squirrel, skeptical and yet intrigued by me, inches closer and closer and I can see now that it is very nervous. This makes me feel a bit empathetic for the squirrel, and therefore also anxious. Its heart is beating so fast, stretching the skin of its core, popping in and out of its body-costume.
“Kngtt, kngtt, kngtt,” I say to the squirrel, which makes it trust me, slightly.
Then I offer the squirrel a cashew (Aacardium occidentale. Originally native to northeastern Brazil. A very delicious snack. 54% monounsaturated fat, 19% palmitic acid. Good source of antioxidants, copper, iron, and zinc. Abundant in alkyl phenols.) And for a second I wonder if feeding squirrels in the park will make them dependant on humans for sustenance and gradually deteriorate their independence within this ecosystem, but I proceed to lure the squirrel with cashews anyway.
Squirrel bites feel very different from cat bites. The squirrel bite reminds me more of the horse bite actually, come to think of it. Maybe this is because horses and squirrels are both undomesticated. (When a cat or a dog bites me, it usually just wants to play or attack me, and from there I can tell how its teeth are structured differently than that of a horse, squirrel, etc.) Both squirrels and horses have a lot of force in their front teeth.
This squirrel, much like the horse I fed a carrot to in summer of ‘09, didn’t see that my hand was in the way of the cashew and/or did not care about me as a voxel of contained energy with nerve endings and feelings- at all. That’s okay. No hard feelings, right? Ha! Ha! So yes, you guessed it, some pain arrived from this experience.
Did I die? No. Did I get rabies? No. Did I feel momentarily stimulated by an interaction with another species? For sure, for sure. You can’t blame me.
Meanwhile children are dragging each other across the ground, putting their hands all over each other, screaming wildly about something that they invented. Geriatrics pass by in a slow neurodegenerative daze. I walk back to my apartment to get some ice cream (Coconut Bliss- original) and eventually pass out on a pile of blankets, on a mattress, on the floor.
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