I mean well. It's true that I don't speak Rodentia, but my attempts at communication are frequent and sincere. I like squirrels. I'm not like my mother. ("They're taking over the city!")
There are some very fortunate trees in front of my workplace; they act as arboreal condos for many handsome squirrels. There have been occasions when I would take a look at these trees – out of gratitude for their dark shelter on a summer's day, to see if their leaves finally decided to defy Nature and change color, to admire the lovely sculpture of their bark.
The last time I took this opportunity, I saw something else…a puff of black-tipped fur from behind the trunk; suddenly there and then just as swiftly gone. I slowly traversed the circumference of the tree and came face to face with a gray and tan squirrel, with a plump, harvest-season figure. I asked it several pertinent questions: "Hiya Squirrlie! Whatcha doing?", "Whatcha doing up there?"
We stared at each other, in such a way that I knew it saw my face, wondered what I was, why I didn't have anything intelligent to say, and whether if had any nuts to offer (I didn't). This visual consideration lasted several seconds – it was only then that it decided to be frightened and I heard its tiny claws rattle on the bark as it scurried upwards.
It stopped. It wagged its tail – in farewell? And then it disappeared into the branches.