Squirrels

Squirrel;
noun
  1. an agile tree-dwelling rodent with a bushy tail, typically feeding on nuts and seeds.
verb
  1. hide money or something of value in a safe place.
  2. move in an inquisitive and restless manner.

I adore squirrels. I love everything about them. Pound for pound, they have more character than any other wild british mammal, and what is more – they’re not shy about it. I have spent more time than I’d like to admit trying to befriend the numerous squirrels of South London’s woodlands and parks. To watch a squirrel scale a tree and hop from branch to branch is akin to sitting in on a practise session at the circus. They jump with such desperation, coming within a whisker of failure every time. Only once have I seen one of the little daredevils actually miss his mark and plummet from a tree. Fortunately, this one appeared unscathed as he scampered off, acting as though he hadn’t almost landed with his head in a pot of houmous.

Today I was lucky enough to have the afternoon off work. I stopped in one of my favourite woods on the way home to find it bursting with bushy tails. I haven’t written about nature for a while, or even taken my camera out with the thought of capturing the wilderness on my doorstep. It was time to dust off my lens. My brief – a portrait of a squirrel encapsulating the autumnal, nut hoarding, madness that ensues every September.

I like this one. I like how the subject stops his squirrelling to glare at me just long enough for it to become awkward. The awkwardness is matched by passers by, who puzzle at the moment he and I are having. I do like it, but it’s not the one. It is lacking in desperation.

I like this one too. The lurch forward has a hint of the desperation I’m after, but it can’t be the one, for selfish reasons. Our subject is having a moment, but not with me. Perhaps, somewhere among the mad rush of this most hectic season, my perfect photograph lies.

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2 thoughts on “Squirrels

  1. Ah, yes, the grey squirrel. A polarising little beast. One’s degree of negativity may depend on whether you live near a population of native red squirrels and/or have ever tried to make any kind of living growing Kentish cobnuts!
    However, they are undeniably charismatic, particularly at this time of year and so I am going with it.
    As a new follower, I was about to say please don’t try singing the praises of the ring-necked parakeet next (apple-growers, wineries and lovers of native birdlife will know what I mean). Then I looked back at your earlier posts. Oh, my!

    Liked by 1 person

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