I brake for squirrels and other living creatures that might cross my path while driving. No duck or chipmunk needs to worry which side I am on in the war of pavement survival.


Now on the quiet back roads where I wander it is fine to do that without compromising safety too much, but my environmental friends tell me that when I do brake, I destroy those little guys’ sense of timing. It’s all part of their day’s work and those road vibrations are what they are tuned to catch. Hmmm. I never thought of that.


Yesterday I took particular notice of a squirrel that darted out in front of me and I instinctively slowed, waiting to hear “The Thump,” but alas, the little guy tiptoed backwards dancing his tango step to safety. I drove on relieved, tapping my happy fingers on the steering wheel, while my young friend fled into the bushes.

I brake for squirrels and other living creatures that might cross my path while driving. No duck or chipmunk needs to worry which side I am on in the war of pavement survival.


Now on the quiet back roads where I wander it is fine to do that without compromising safety too much, but my environmental friends tell me that when I do brake, I destroy those little guys’ sense of timing. It’s all part of their day’s work and those road vibrations are what they are tuned to catch. Hmmm. I never thought of that.


Yesterday I took particular notice of a squirrel that darted out in front of me and I instinctively slowed, waiting to hear “The Thump,” but alas, the little guy tiptoed backwards dancing his tango step to safety. I drove on relieved, tapping my happy fingers on the steering wheel, while my young friend fled into the bushes.


Speaking of “The Thump,” a friend told me that when she heard what I was writing about she was concerned that I didn’t have the sound description right at all. According to her it is “Thump-pause, de thump.” Whatever.


“Make Way For Ducklings,” is a classic children’s picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey. First published in 1941, the book tells the story of a pair of mallard ducks that decide to raise their family of eight ducklings on an island in the lagoon in the Boston Public Garden, a park in the center of the city. Both children and adults learned to live peacefully with the duckling family respecting them as creatures of the earth thrust in the midst of towering buildings and the hustle and bustle of city life. The ducklings home became sacred space in a place where real estate is a high commodity.


Tis the season for pesky squirrels to find inviting attic space for winter quarters. Why can’t they “Snow Bird” to the southern climates along with their homeowners escaping the cold? Chipmunks scurry around playing havoc with car wiring, too. I found that out the hard way when my auto mechanic told me what was causing my engine light to come on, resulting in costly repairs. Fortunately the warranty kicked-in and save me a bundle. Sometimes it doesn’t win to try to live in harmony with those little critters. Mothballs in the car grille I am told will do the trick.


Last week when I was driving a few miles west from my home, I saw a brand new floppy-eared puppy race out into the road and circle frantically not knowing what to do. I came to a dead stop and rolled down my window while the puppy’s young owner looked on in horror from his yard with a face washed over like white chalk. He raced out to retrieve the dog, and scooped him up in his arms.


“Thank you, thank you, lady.” Relief poured over him, and you could see him relax. I wasn’t going to be the culprit.


“Better hang on to him a little better,” I said.


“I just got him and I let him go and he ran away so fast I panicked.”


When I drove off I could see a happy boy stroking his puppy, and all was right with his world again.


Coming upon deer season and any veteran of the area knows that he needs his eyes roving all the time and in the most unexpected spots, too. My alertness has already gone into mandatory mode whenever I head my car out on the road. I’ve had those deer literally fly over the hood of my car daringly making it to the other side at the very last second. Their acrobatics have left me with my heart thumping madly! Small herds of deer habitually cross our road at the bottom of the hill, and I know to slow down giving the landscape an extra scrutiny. The hunters spot them, too, until it is time for the season to begin, and then off those smart deer go deeper into the woods.


When I look up into the sky on many afternoons I see the young eagles circling our area practicing their flying techniques. It seems to me that they are a lot safer off the roads than the rest of us relying on their own traffic control. The best thing is that they do have a great view of the whole earth draped in its colorful autumn hues.