Friday, October 19, 2012

The Little Visitor

I mentioned in a past blog about 
some of the wildlife that has made its way into our house.
We used to leave the back door open on nice days
so our dogs could come and go as they pleased. 
The problem was that a few times,
the open door proved irresistible for other creatures not on our approved list.

Such an intrusion happened one night some years ago
when my husband was out of town.
I ate dinner that evening and then settled on the couch to relax.
Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, 
I saw some shadowy thing bound into the room 
and head straight behind some framed pictures 
that I had propped up on the fireplace mantel.
Uh oh. 
A fleet-footed creature that scales walls.
That couldn't be good.

I got up from the couch and crept to the fireplace.
Frankly, I don't know how I got the courage to move the picture, but I did.
And as I did, a small flying squirrel sailed from the mantel and lit on the floor.
But he didn't stop to assess the situation.
 He raced through the kitchen 
and up the stairs to my husband's office 
where, from the looks of it, he had spent some serious lounge time
after the door had been opened that morning.

I got one of my neighbors to come over
and help me evict the flying squirrel.
That was a comedy of errors. I didn't help the situation by my squealing 
and backing away every time the squirrel came in my direction.
Exhausted, overheated, and despairing that we would ever catch it,
I opened the window.
The flying squirrel must have sensed the fresh air,
for it bounced to the sill, spread its winged front legs
and leapt into the darkness.

And I thought about that because one night this week, 
another tiny creature graced us with a visit--
this one considerably less furry.
About bedtime, I noticed something on the inside of the back door 
that looked very much like a large bug.
I understand that bugs have a valuable place in the eco-system,
but when they enter my house, it's survival of the fastest.
Ordinarily, I would have dispatched the intruder with a fly swatter.
But this time, I hesitated.

And a good thing, because it turned out the "bug"
was the tiniest tree frog I have ever seen.
My husband came over and tried to catch it,
but thimble-sized tree frogs are at least as fast as flying squirrels,
and it easily hopped out of his cupped hands.
Enlivened by our attempts to catch it,
the baby frog ricocheted from door to baseboard to molding,
using its sticky feet to spring from place to place.

Finally, it rested a moment on the screen door.
My husband pushed the frame open ever-so-slightly,
but it was enough for the frog to sense freedom was at hand.
It sprang into the air like a tiddlywink
 and made one final leap into the night.

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