The Blue Raccoon

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Those Zany Animals: Spring Has Sprung In Richmond

Greetings to the Billion-Eyed Audience of The Blue Raccoon. Well, this morning in Richmond, the city is receiving a much-needed soaking and where from my home office window the mimosa tree hangs damp and the grey air is giving the pink blossoms a greater prominence. Stephanie Abrams told me it's going to rain all day, and what Stephanie says, I believe, and will obey.

But I thought I'd take a diversionary stroll from matters of cosmological importance to record a couple of encounters with nature that I experienced during an extended walk-for-coffee that I took on Monday afternoon. I was at work, droning away, when my bell went off and it was time to seek the jolt of the black liquid. And thus, I ambled down to the 'Sev to get see the man about my stuff.

I meandered the long way home up a side street and while musing on matters of contrafactual historical importance my ears picked up a gleeful skittering above my head. Alerted to the racket, I gazed up to the powerline above my head and witnessed two squirrels, one in hot pursuit of the other, and headed directly for a transformer.

I instinctively winced and went into a half-squat, fully expecting two small "poofs" of orange flame and the scent of fricaseed varmint to waft down to my nostrils. My anxiety is derived from the fact that twice in the past year, the building where I'm employed has lost its power apparently to similar antics. Once, during a warm summer afternoon when we actually got a Squirrel Power Outtage Half-Day, and not three months ago, though in that instance, the power came back before everyone was at work.

This isn't an uncommon problem and I have to again give my praises to the Internet. According to a writer at

In the late 1960s, an estimated 20 million squirrels migrated south along the east coast. Like lemmings, these squirrels ignored every obstacle in their path. Hundreds of thousands drowned trying to cross rivers and lakes; even more died along highways and railroad tracks. Fity-five tons of drowned squirrels were removed from a resevoir in New York.
Experts admit that the usual explanations of overpopulation and food shortages are not satisfactory, and no one knows exactly what triggers these migrations. Utilities in the northeast reported an "explosion" in squirrel-caused outages in the late 1980s, more than likely the result of the latest mass migration. Make a note.. . according to our calendar, we're about due for another invasion."

Lo and behold, I've stumbled across a trend! If you think you're noticing more squirrels in your leafier of neighborhoods, you're not imagining things. And the migratory patterns of squirrels, like birds, don't acknowledge obstacles very well since it took generations of brain pattern ingramming for the critters to learn the proper courses. That's why when all the sudden structures appear in the way they get confused and, well, find themselves fried or splattered.

Power loss via squirrel is treated also in amusing fashion here at Scary Squirrel World, from which I blatantly sampled the racy image accompanying this entry. Yet, a neighbor of ours a few doors up has taken to leaving peanut butter out for one she calls Sweetie Pie who is so domestic, she'll hop on her porch and hang out and tap on the door for attention. I'm not making this up. Once, my wife left one of those small white ketchup containers like you get at Hardee's with peanut butter in it and when she saw Sweetie Pie, she put it out for the flickering tailed animal. Sweetie absconded with the small tub between her little front paws and went to the nearest tree but was frustrated that she couldn't eat and climb at the same time. I think we all can sympathize.

Well, I continued my walk back to my office, heading west on Monument Avenue, when I heard a tick-tick-ticking of something hitting metal. I stopped to see the cause when I viewed, there on the front porch of a grande urbane manor, a starling seeing its reflection in a gold metal kick plate at the bottom of a front door. The bird thought it was courting one of its own and couldn't understand why it was getting disrespected. I hate to see anybody or anything embarrassng itself--though I realize starlings don't have an embarrassment gene.

Nonetheless, I flapped my arms to cause the starling to flee, which it did, to a nearby branch where it began to sing resignedly of its lost love.

Ah, nature.



At 7:30 AM, Blogger LouLou! said...

It frightens me to no small degree that animals mating can trigger such a bout of musing and careful research.

Harry's brain: One of the scariest tours offered in the modern world.

At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

greetings oh bespectacled one.

AHHHHHHHHHHHH! Has the INVASION OF THE SQUIRRELS begun? Will it be like A. Hitchcock's "The Birds". Are you gonna write the screen play?

just wondering.....

yours truly,


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