Jack caught a squirrel.
He has been watching them tightrope across the back fence, fling themselves from tree to rooftop and back again since we arrived one August afternoon.
Jack tracks his audacious furry obsession from the window of my office. He attempts to outsmart them with a quiet approach and a sneak attack, only to circle the yard in disappointment. He has wanted a squirrel for a long time, and last week he got one.
It’s interesting the things we want with such a passion. Things we convince ourselves we not only desire but need. Things, people, houses, jobs… squirrels.
Last week, one of the local squirrels chose the edge of the wooden fence over the broader tree trunk, and Jack’s ship came in. It was his turn to win. The squirrel lost his tiny footing, tipped off the edge of the fence, and fell to the ground.
Jack’s adventure reminded me that I have never read an interview with anyone who said their life was better once they reached or held the thing they’d wanted all their lives. Most people agree, in retrospect usually, that getting there was the gift.
Jack has spent months in the sun, jumping and charging at the thing he wanted most. He’s taken countless naps washed in the warmth of the window. Exhausted from his pursuit. The excitement of early morning new and the exhale of sunset have played backdrop to his journey toward the squirrel.
When it finally fell, when Jack arrived and won, he pushed at his prize with this paw, probably hoping for a new friend or at least a next-level challenge. The squirrel screamed and promptly bit Jack in the face.
There was blood everywhere. None of it the squirrel’s.
The prize hobbled away, seemingly shocked by his defeat, and was back atop the fence within minutes. Holding a bloody towel to his mouth, I whisked Jack away to the vet for inspection and antibiotics.
Jack has taught me so many lessons over the years. The journey is important—being top on my list. But, after Jack’s latest adventure, maybe—be careful what you wish for—is valuable too.
And, of course, squirrels bite.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Crazy Dreams.