Saturday, January 16, 2010

January 16: Vole in the Road

Driving home from the gym last night, I had to slam on the brakes to avoid a black and white cat in the middle of the road. I couldn't figure out why it was sitting there--was it staring at something? waiting for another cat across the road? or simply hanging out in snowless spot? Thankfully it was smart enough to dash up a driveway as soon as my car came close.

At the bottom of the hill, however, while paused at the stop sign, I saw something that helped make some sense of the cat in the road. In my headlights I watched a vole run down the center of the road and head slowly toward the sidewalk. As I made the turn, I expected the vole to keep running, as they do, and disappear in the roadside snow bank. But it wandered a little bit, so I actually had to stop and wait for it to get out of the way. I encouraged the vole to hurry up  before another car came along--a car that might not see a little creature the size of a fist and the same color as the dirty road. That cat had the right idea, just in the wrong spot. Though for all I know, the side streets of Camden are swarmed by voles every night. (This image can get kind of creepy put in the context of yesterday's post. One vole: cute. Many voles: eek!)

My one unexpected and frantic vole, scurrying around like those toy hamsters that were the big Christmas gift this year, brought a smile to my face--a different kind of joy, of course, than the creature might have brought to the cat. Or the owls, active and courting now, flying through the darkness in the neighborhoods of Camden and beyond.

Vole in the headlights
avoids cats and owls, for now.
Small creature, short life.

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