Last September we discovered that we have this white squirrel living in our yard. He’s beautiful, as you can see. He’s not particularly goofy as a lot of squirrels are, and instead has a very businesslike attitude I don’t ordinarily associate with squirrels. I suppose he doesn’t have the luxury of goofiness, given that his entire body is an advertisement for predators. Even though he doesn’t appear to be a true albino (he has dark eyes and a brownish tail), we still named him Al anyway, because he had to be called something.
Al comes and goes, and we often don’t see him for days at a time. I read somewhere that squirrels have a 200 yard range from their home nest, which appears to be in a tree in the southwest quadrant of our yard. This seems like a small area, but it’s enough for us not to see him for stretches of time. Usually, though, one of us will wake up one morning, look out the bathroom window and call out “Hey, Al!”
This time though, Al’s been gone awhile. And it feels different. The other day I saw a dismembered squirrel tail on the road. Because his tail is the only part of him that looks like an ordinary squirrel, I couldn’t tell whether it belonged to Al. I’ve lived in dread of seeing a small white body on or near the road, but didn’t expect to have only a tail.
We have always steeled ourselves for Al’s demise, though, because squirrels’ lives under the best of circumstances aren’t exactly durable. When an opossum died in our yard the day before Christmas and a hawk spent a week perched on Al’s tree, periodically dining on the carcass, we thought for sure he was a goner. But the hawk was apparently well enough fed, and ignored all the squirrels in the yard.
So we keep looking for Al out the window, and hoping to see him. This is the downside of getting attached to wildlife. But I’ll probably keep doing it anyway.
And hope I hear someone say “Hey, Al!” soon.