I watch four squirrels run up and down a pair of snow-lined trees. The wood is damp and dark; the branches arch off in different directions, striking poses that remind me of oriental dancers. The squirrels disturb the comfortably sitting snow; small, furious flakes fly down from the branches and bark. Their running forms create shifting smudges on the white canvas.
Something about the furry with which they moves spells panic. They run up and down, up and down, up and down. Their little paws work furiously and their eyes dart around; the scampering continues. Maybe they were lazy. They thought they still had time to gather their nuts and pile up for winter. Maybe they are lost, searching for the rest of their party, but all the holes are filled with snow. I understand their confusion. Just a few days ago it was dry and bright. You could still spot the odd flowers and fallen leaves. Now everything is lost under an icy slush.
Even the benches in the park below, benches that are never empty, have lost their daily patrons to the snow. I miss the clique of bakas that gather in the afternoon. From my balcony I watch their hands talk, and their heads fall back in laughter. The playground is empty too, as it tends to be at this time of the year. No sequels of joys, no screeching tantrums climbing up the slope. My afternoons have become very quiet.
Twice a day, in the mornings and late afternoons, I spot a dog or two shuffling along the walkway; the owners follow slowly behind, hands stuffed deep in wool-lined pockets and head bent low. The dogs themselves do their business with little fuss; no summer curiosity, no sniffing around for hidden treasures or adventures. I sometimes wonder if they’d rather pee into a potted plant at home. Despite their coat of fur, surely they must get cold.
I am. From the minute I wake up to long after I’ve fallen asleep. I can feel slices of cold creep in through my soles and up to my fingers forming icy webs in between. It’s putting me in a state of permanent brain-freeze. Everything I do is iced with lethargy. I even type slowly these days – q-pause-w- pause-e-pause–r-pause-t-pause-y. And my mind prefers to slip back into warmer memories than tackle the to-do list. I give in and take the trip. Later, as a deadline approaches, l’ll panic and scamper, like the squirrels, in search of the now covered holes.