Friday, 10 June 2011

Flipping Nature

Once upon a time, there were two sisters who were going for a walk through the piney woods that bookended their neighbourhood. The older sister was named Caitie and the youngest sister was named Aislinn. There was a third, middle, sister named Meghan but she wasn't with them that day because she was off being infinitely cool and was living in a big city called Vancouver. That meant if Meghan wanted to go for a walk she didn't have to walk through piney woods but instead could meander down a little road called Robson Street, where if she chose she could rest her weary feet in a Club Monaco instead of having to plop down on a splintering old stump in the middle of a pine-beetle infested forest.

Caitie can't speak for Aislinn, but she was a little envious of middle sister Meghan.

She had the best clothes.

But anyways, back to our story. Our two sisters were walking through the neighbourhood woods when little sister Aislinn stopped dead in her tracks. Older sister Caitie paid no attention and kept charging along the dirt bike path, intent on resting for a spell on the blackened out old stump she saw in the distance. Aislinn called after Caitie, and then had to run after her, where she pulled on Caitie's arm.

"What are you doing?!" Aislinn hissed, "Stop walking! There's a bear just up there."

Older sister Caitie (who wasn't wearing her glasses) turned in the direction of Aislinn's pointed finger and squinted really hard.

"What bear? Do you mean that stump?"


Mr. Black Bear (or maybe it was a Mrs., who can tell?) was still happily foraging amongst the berry bushes and hadn't noticed the two sisters who were far enough away to be of no danger, but were still close enough to be in danger.

Then Caitie felt an adrenaline rush when she realized (a) she was close to a bear, and (b) she had intended to sit on that bear. But she wasn't scared. Instead, the two sisters slowly, slowly, backed away and returned up the path and back into their neighbourhood, unharmed and remarking that it was cool they saw a bear.


Now readers, this may come as a shock but I am the Caitie in this story.

I know, right?!

Good thing I spelled it out for you.

Now as mentioned yesterday, after Dan and I had toured the Churchill War Rooms, we decided to go sit in St. James' Park and take a load off while we plotted where we were going to go next. This is the area of the park where we rested.


It was idyllic.

As we were sitting in the park, I noticed a scruffy little squirrel across the road from us, and really 'scruffy' is being kind to the poor thing. It had the mangiest tail I've ever seen on a squirrel and I was worried for the little dear that some social lepers had been cruel to it. I got up to stand at a respectful distance and make sure it was okay. I have no clue what I was going to do if it wasn't okay (hey London, do you have squirrel veterinarians?), but I just wanted to make sure that it was.

The squirrel was about two meters away from me after I had walked across the road, and it was digging around in the ground. I determined that it looked okay, quite alert, and whatever had happened to its tail had obviously happened awhile ago. As I was mentally giving Mr. Squirrel a clean bill of health, he stopped his digging, sat up on his haunches and stared me down.

It was extremely unnerving.

I started to back away (keep in mind, there was a two meter distance between us), and as I did Mr. Squirrel RACED to bridge the distance, and he jumped up on a little decorative garden fence that was meant to keep people off the lawn.

We were now only about an arm's length away from each other, and the next few seconds felt like weeks. Mr. Squirrel sat perched on the low ornamental fence, staring at me while I stared at him. By this time Dan's curiosity was peaked and he was a couple of steps behind me.

"That is a weird little squirrel."

"Don't talk," I whispered. "Don't talk. It's possessed. Look how it's staring at me."

Then Mr. Squirrel rose up on his back legs, hunkered down a bit, and was poised to leap off the fence.

Right at me!

This demonic squirrel was going to eat my face! It was going to eat my face! I was going to appear in the London papers as the tourist who's face got eaten off in broad daylight by a squirrel! So I did the only sensible thing one could do in this situation: I screamed and ran away.

Like, I booked it.

Right up the path.

When I felt that I was a safe distance away, I turned around and saw that Mr. Squirrel was still on the fence, but now he was assessing Dan. I wanted to call out warnings to Dan, something about rabies and not to touch that squirrel if he didn't want his face eaten off, but I was afraid that Mr. Squirrel would notice me again and come after me.

So instead I extended my zoom its FULL length and took a picture of this urban terror.

"I'm a gonna eat yo face if you don't give me a peanut!"

After insisting that we leave the park, I tried to justify being afraid of Mr. Squirrel but can a person ever justify being afraid of squirrel? Especially when that person's reaction to the squirrel was ten times more extreme than the reaction she had when, once upon a time, she was charging towards a bear because she thought it was as a stump she could rest her unfit ass on.


Her behaviour was unjustifiable.


(P.S. if you're ever in Canada and want to see a bear, just go for a walk with Aislinn. Hot damn it's scary how many times she runs into bears. Or likewise, if you're in Canada and you don't want to see a bear, just avoid Aislinn.)


Helen said...

Now I love squirrels but the urban grey ones can definitely be a) a tad mangy and b) very vicious if they don't get fed. There is a city farm near me where they had to put a notice warning people about the squirrels who were biting people. So I think perhaps you were justified to a certain degree as you can't underestimate what they'll do in pursuit of a peanut. (Although, luckily, we don't have rabies in the UK thanks to a vigorous quarantine procedure!)
PS I really wish we had black squirrels over here; they were one of my favourite things about Canada, especially the one who sat on my shoulder in Montreal.
PPS I know I sound a little squirrel obsessed now. I shall stop.

Habebi said...

I love that park!! Omg, I want to go to there!

Pyscho squirrels are unnerving. We had some seriously brave ones at the univeristy I went to. Then, when I moved to the first house I rented my roommie and I dealt with terrorist squirrels. Seriously, they were terrorists. They would throw pecans at us, taunt the dogs, throw pecans at them, scamper away only to return at unexpected times to terrorize us once again. Not. Cool.

Glad you made it out alive! ;-)

Melissa Sue said...

I was so confused until I realized you're blogging your vacation - hahaha Like, OMG how on earth did you see a squirrel in CH?? I've only ever seen one and it was a magical experience. The ears!

mom said...

Cait, remember Snoopy? He was cute but when he got a bit older he did get aggressive when he was trying to hide his treasures in the couch.

Ais said...

Yes, its true. I am destined to live amongst the bears I think. One day, I will lead their colony.... But on a lighter note, Im glad you didn't get your face eaten off by the devil squirrel!!!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the time my mom was 'cruised' by a posse of Canada geese. Those moody b*tches followed her half a kilometre home, viciously quacking all the way! I find it's generally safer to stay indoors! ;)

Xx Crystal