I’m considering wearing a hardhat just to retrieve the mail. Recently, I was crossing the street to check my mailbox for an important letter I was expecting. Halfway there, I saw a blur in front of my face. It was immediately followed by a sickening thud. A few steps away was a squirrel, spread-eagled on the tarmac. We looked at each other for a few moments. Then, it shook itself and quickly scampered away.
My first concern was for the viability of the little rodent because it most likely received serious internal injuries. The next thought was how close I came to being hit by a falling squirrel. I’m sure the repercussions would have been very unpleasant. The incident may have even resulted in injuries to my head.
I’m usually wary of things dropping out of the dozens of trees in my yard and the vacant lot next door. Several years ago while I mowed the yard, a medium size branch fell from one of the large elms near the house. It came within perhaps ten feet from where I was pushing the lawnmower. If it would have hit me, I would have been a goner. That’s why unstable tree branches are called “widow makers”.
Last summer, again while mowing the yard, I had just completed a swath past a tree, when I noticed a blue jay that was quite panicked near the base of the tree. I stopped the mower and walked slowly towards the bird. Nearby, were three of her fledglings. She had apparently chosen that time to kick her offspring out of the nest because they had grown large enough to survive on their own.
I backed up to observe how momma jay was going to handle her conundrum. I hoped she wouldn’t dive-bomb me or become aggressive, so I remained standing in place. The mother scolded the fledglings and prompted them to flee. After perhaps five minutes, all four birds managed to fly away towards the river.
I resumed the mowing chore, while marveling at what I had just witnessed. When I was nearly finished mowing, I noticed that momma jay had returned to her nest in the tree and was observing me. I imagined she was happy that I meant no harm to her brood.
One reason I never considered taking up a career in construction, is because of worries about falling objects. If I wasn’t the one dropping things, then I’d worry about someone else dropping stuff. Several years ago, in-between broadcasting jobs, I was hired to help remodel a small department store. It was a floor to ceiling redo. There were two minor incidents that could have caused major injuries.
The first one happened when an incorrectly anchored false ceiling partially collapsed onto those of us who were assembling display fixtures below. The ceiling was not heavy, but several of the cardboard tiles broke on our heads and caused a crumbly mess. The second one occurred while we were unloading a truckload of mattresses. A stack of them toppled and trapped a coworker and me against the truck for several minutes. This didn’t injure us, but my eyeglasses didn’t survive the impact.
The last items to fall on me while indoors, were some Tupperware bowls and lids. They were on the top shelf of a cupboard. I tried reaching around them to grab a particular bowl that was just right to store leftovers. I bumped into the stack and the soft plastic bowls went flying. Luckily, I escaped without a scratch.
I guess I have no business storing things on high shelves nor living on property where there are old trees containing squirrels. Then again, it might be smart to invest in a hardhat.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes actress, comedienne, activist, and media personality, Amanda Seales. “If you’re not good at juggling, then you’re not juggling. I always tell people that. If you’re dropping a lot of balls, then maybe you shouldn’t juggle. And that’s fine–there are different ways of working.”