After I saw the goose tracks in the ice I showed you yesterday, it was time for me and my magical little friend Alice to move on to the nature trails. I announced to her that she would be leading the way. She doesn't get to come out here very often, so I thought it might be fun for her to choose the places we'd go.
She had a little bit of trouble deciding which way to go at first, but then she decided she wanted to walk across the little bridge in front of the nature center. I liked that choice, because I thought there might be some birds in that direction a little further on. As we walked past the totem pole, to get to the bridge, I reminded her about the little squirrel we saw beside it on the big rock last summer.
She looked back at the big rock, and said that she had forgotten about it until now. As we were looking in that direction, she pointed at the tree and said, "Look at that!" As if to prove that her little kid magic was still working, there was a squirrel walking along one of the branches of the tree.
I got one picture of it before it disappeared out of sight for me. Alice told me that it had jumped to another branch. I had lost it, but she was watching every move it made. She told me that it ran across the sidewalk, and was hiding behind a mound of rocks. I told her I wanted a good photo of this squirrel, so we walked over there.
When we got over to the rocks, I thought we had lost the little squirrel. But just then it popped out from behind the rocks, right onto the pile, and looked right at me as if I did something incredibly rude. I must have really offended it. Even so, it was in a perfect spot for a picture, and I was completely ready for it. I got what might be my best photo of a squirrel so far. Then the squirrel ran off, and we didn't see it again. Alice's little kid magic was already working well.
We started excitedly talking about this squirrel and the squirrel we saw last summer, when I realized that they were the same kind of squirrel. These were the only two of that kind that I had ever seen. Other people have told me, in my comments section, that they are common where they live, but I don't think there are that many here.
It was a kind of strange thing that happened with this squirrel, because it's behavior was almost exactly like the other one. This one started out on that tree, and the tree was the first place the other one tried to hide. After they both fled from the tree, both of them ran across the path to the same area. When each one decided to leave for good, they ran in the same exact direction. I was beginning to think something strange was going on.
As I got to thinking about it, I wondered something. Were these two the same squirrel? When I got home, I examined the photos very closely, but I still can't tell. If they're not the same one, they must be related. Their safe place is in the same direction, so if they're not the same one, they're certainly at least friends.
I'm sure I must have seen the same animal twice before. Maybe I saw a squirrel in my neighborhood more than once. I'm sure some of the deer I've seen in my backyard are return visitors. But to come all the way to the nature park and see such a unique animal twice, after such a long time, was simply amazing. The odds of that happening must be astronomical.
I know, I know. You're thinking that maybe the squirrel is there most of the time, so it would be easy. There is only one problem with that thought though. Alice was there both times. I've been to that same spot several times in between these two, and I never saw that little squirrel once. Maybe this time I was somehow transported into Alice's Wonderland.