*Read Part 1 here
This piece is about a squirrel. You may have guessed it from the picture. Actually, it is about many squirrels.
They seem to be showing up in my daily life a lot lately. I took it as a sign that I should tell you this story.
A couple of months before I became vegan, I had this idea that I should carry around a notebook and write down all the interesting stuff that I would see while walking around. (There’s lots of people watching to be done in Montreal) It was to be a sort of experiment in my quest to find a neverending source of inspiration. *Cough* Not at all “pretentious sounding artist” here *Cough*
Anyways. I set out on this beautiful summer day. It must have been early June, exactly about 3 years ago. I had just graduated and was contemplating the vastness of the universe as much as I was dreading the black hole my bank account had become.
My part-time nanny job was soon ending, the boys were about to leave for their summer in Europe.
I was walking down the street, on my way to the kid’s school when I heard the weirdest sound coming up from above my head. I don’t speak squirrel but I know without a doubt that it was a cry of help before I even looked up.
The poor animal was dangling from the power line. His little body was trying to get back up on the wire.
He didn’t succeed.
The fall down to the ground must have been at least 15 feet. I watched him crash to the ground.
I had never felt so moved and helpless before in my life.
He lay on the ground motionless for a few seconds. Then he got up and tried to walk. He stumbled for a few feet, then fell on his back. His whole body went into spasms.
I witnessed a life leaving a body, a small body for sure, but still a life.
These past weeks, I’ve seen dead squirrels almost every day. The fact that there is a large population of them in the neighborhood doesn’t make it any less sad.
Whenever I see one, I think of that day. It may seem like an inconsequential event, I mean we all die some day.
It was not about the death though. It’s the suffering that got to me.
It was a new piece in my puzzle. The vegan puzzle I didn’t know I was trying to complete at the time.
I stopped and stared at the poor squirrel who died on someone’s perfectly green always freshly cut manicured lawn.
I couldn’t bear it. I kept walking, trying to figure out what it meant to me.
I did the most cliché thing ever in my new quest as a writer on the prowl.
I went into a cafe, ordered a latte and noted everything interesting I saw that day.
“There’s the squirrel that fell off the roof and the vegetarianism that it inspires me. Deep down we’re all more or less in distress on this earth, animal or not.”
Then I sat there for a while sipping on my cow’s breast milk filled sugary drink while pondering on what I would do with MY existence.
To be continued…