I woke this morning to the sound of William crashing through the blinds and into the plate-glass door.
Peering out, I saw his target: a squirrel perched in the mulberry tree, peering through the iron bars at the berries lying on the balcony.
It happens every May. Mulberries fall, a squirrel stops in for breakfast, and a cat forgets about the glass.
Squirrels, however, don’t forget. This morning’s visitor hopped onto the balcony and helped himself to one after another of the ripe purple berries. He picked one up, sat back on his haunches, and nibbled. Then, switching his tail, he scooted to the next juicy delicacy.
Periodically he stopped and, turning toward the window, stared directly at William. If squirrels can smirk, he was smirking. His message was clear: “I’m trespassing, and you can’t do a thing about it.”
William wasn’t convinced. He lay waiting, only the tip of his tail in motion. He crouched. He shivered. He shot up, pawing at the pane.
The squirrel skittered off the balcony. Safe in the notch of the mulberry tree, he chattered a warning to the world.
Then he spun around, braced his paws on trunk, and began to bark. When I left, he was still barking. By the time he finished, he had cussed William out but good.
Where was Ernest during all the commotion?
Ernest doesn’t share William’s interest in wildlife. Ernest’s fight-or-flight system is set on flight. When William crashed into the glass, Ernest retreated. He watched from the bed.
At the sound of barking, however, curiosity overcame caution. Pushing the blinds aside, he settled down to observe.
But Ernest doesn’t share William’s attention span either.
In the picture above, Ernest is watching the squirrel.
In the one below, Ernest is watching an airplane.