by Frankie Will
In this climate we have a phenomenon called black ice. A road or a surface looks completely dry, but is covered with a thin sheet of ice – slippery as a wet ice cube on a warm countertop. It is very dangerous and causes many accidents.
This November, we’ve already had quite a few snowy and freezing days, promising a long, cold winter.
The other day my dogs barreled out of the house and into the backyard. It was a crisp, clear, freezing morning, and they love to roll on frozen grass and puff out icy clouds of breath. They were about to play when they spotted a squirrel on the ground and dashed toward it (squirrels in this area take great pleasure in teasing and taunting neighborhood dogs).
The startled squirrel dropped one of its bread crumbs, dashed across the drive, and flew up into the crabapple tree with the dogs close behind. The squirrel must have been groggy because it started its taunting chatter to the dogs, dropped its remaining bread crumb, tried to swipe it back with its paw and nearly fell out of the tree into the bounding, slathering jaws below.
Unnerved and without food, the squirrel decided just to get away. It flew up to the top branch, leapt onto the frozen metal roof, and with the momentum of that jump, slid straight up to the peak.
Its eyes were wild with panic and its tail tacked in every direction as it tried to regain control. It caught its claw on the ridge cap and did an airborne triple somersault up to the north side of the roof. It didn’t land on the roof, but with one claw, grabbed hold of the metal ridge and started sliding down at an alarming rate of speed, its body flying through the air alongside the ridge, flailing and grabbing for anything that would keep it from falling into the savage, gaping, drooling jaws below!
Its claw hit a screw head. The squirrel bounced up, lost its grip and started to fall inward toward the garage. It barely grabbed the rafter and bounced from that into a majestic leap onto a thin branch of a small crabapple tree. The branch swayed and bobbed under the weight of the squirrel with the frenzied dogs just eight feet away. The squirrel clung to that tiny branch with both arms and legs and looked like she had survived a ride on the scariest roller coaster in the world.
I laughed and applauded as I called in the dogs. That little critter earned a few minutes of peace and quiet to collect herself and safely get away!
Frankie Will lives in Alamosa with her one dog, four cats and a wealth of furballs and dust-bunnies.