I was compelled to join Facebook by the strange and powerful force that consumed my house this afternoon.
I was working quietly in the bedroom when the sleeping cat at my feet perked up his ears. My next breath choked as a thrashing sound came from the back of the house and I ran to see what the noise could be. The trees outside were whipping wildly with a sudden gust of wind, but I couldn't see anything to blame for the noise. I disarmed the alarm, unlocked the back door and ran outside in my sock-monkey slippers.
After looking around the strange scene for a few seconds, half expecting a green-faced witch to cackle down at me as a twister dispatched my house to Oz, the other half thinking my slippers might sprout wings and fly off with the house instead. I looked up in case the witch thing was right, and noticed a little squirrel face looking back at me from a knothole near the eave of the house. The squirrel's head was barely smaller than the hole it poked out of. It snickered at me from inside my cozy house.
I went back inside, amused, and emailed Bart that we needed a trap. I went back to work.
For the next hour, the cats chased the sounds in the ceiling. Tungsten ran from front door to back nervously. He stopped every other time through to nervously nibble the shower curtain before darting back down the hall. The noises grew louder and soon a symphony of knocks and bumps were coming from the attic, accompanied by a rhythmic pit-pat of an anxious tomcat below. The concerto climaxed with a sudden frenzy of bumping and several gunshots from down the street. The cat made only one more nibble-lap through the house before settling down in a window, pensive.
Bart came home and I dispatched him up the ladder to look for the squirrel. It had been hours since the cats and I heard signs of life. He found a nest near another opening in the front of the attic space. Thinking that the birds would be trapped there after he closed the opening to the outside, he decided to move the nest. Armed with a head lamp and cardboard box, he poked at the pile of grass and was startled to see it move. A pair of eyes met his gaze... then... another.
Not only is one squirrel in my attic, but he's moved his whole family in there. And they've been there long enough to get comfy.
Why did the squirrels just now get our attention?
How did they get past the supersensitive cat ears for this long?
Why was my Friday afternoon interrupted by this cacophony?
Did I suddenly break a new plane of consciousness allowing me to be more aware of my surroundings and the living beings around?
And did the cat transcend as my companion, at once becoming more human as I became more animal?
Would this new consciousness make living in the house harder for us with a new set of distractions - previously ignored?
I'm not sure what I witnessed today. The cat is still a nervous wreck and we have a family of rodentia to relocate. I have moved on to worrying for the well-being of the squirrels upstairs.
Will they be able to get out for food? We just trimmed the tree that was allowing them in.
Will they suffer without food or water until we can move them?
Will they chew through the ancient wiring in my 94-year-old attic?
Would they start a fire and hurt themselves or us?
Was the first noise I heard the driving instinct of a tiny parent willing themselves through an impossibly small hole in dangerous wind to feed its young - desperately clawing through a tiny opening, compelled by nature to break its own plane of consciousness and adapt to its environment?
It's quiet now, except for the normal sounds. Or is it only me who is quiet and normal again? If I listen hard enough I might be able to hear the squirrels moving and convince myself they will be alright until we can get them down.
Seemed like a good time to plug myself in with the rest of the collective and listen.