Monday, October 27, 2008
“The function of the imagination is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange.”
-G. K. Chesterton
On my twice-weekly excursion to the skip to dispose of the rubbish, I have learned to be wary. On occasion a rustling, rummaging squirrel will not sense my presence until the last second, when I stand ready to hurl the bags- at which point the cornered animal might catapult itself from the vessel, toes splayed, teeth bared, eyes wild and hair on end, flying in the direction of my face. Or perhaps the prickled hairs were mine, bristling at the imminent prospect of being assailed by a terrified creature I happened to disturb.
I have thus learned to be wary on such expeditions, and I make as much rowdy clatter as possible when approaching the skip. I shake the sacks of rubbish, I kick the nearest bit of wood, I clear my throat. Typically the squirrel will be given enough notice to escape in safety, much to the relief of both of us.
That being said, I cannot account, nor prepare myself, for an inexplicable sight in late, frost-tipped October: that of a human neighbour sunbathing silently under a grey sky, clutching a book, in the region of the rubbish skip.
I was startled out of my wits this morning, as well one might be. Thoughts of leaping squirrels vacated my head entirely.
Far be it from me to determine the validity- or lack thereof- of stretching out on a lawn chair when one is within breathing distance of Winter, but, to be reasonable, there are certain situations when one ought to make as little noise as possible, and slip away without a word being said or a throat being cleared.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 1:14 PM