Blind Strike

{August 25, 2007}   Squirrel’s Journey: A Serial Fable

One day, after a long sojourn in the dark, cold depths, Squirrel found herself blinking in the bright sun of a teeming desert.

“Where am I?” she said to herself, “and where have I come from?”

 She looked at her feet, hoping she had become a rabbit, or a dragon, but no, she was still just a squirrel. As her eyes adjusted, Squirrel watched a thick patch of clouds hanging around the sun. She observed as they drifted towards it, and enveloped it, casting a red glow through the sky.

Squirrel hopped along the burning sand, into the bank of a wash, where the ground was softer. There, in the basin, Scorpion sat crouched on dagger limbs.

“Hello, there,” he said, and waved her over with the sharp point of his tail. “Sit.” Scorpion jabbed his stinger into the sand before him. Squirrel hesitated. “I won’t hurt you,” Scorpion said.

Squirrel lowered herself on shaking legs.

“You have questions,” Scorpion said in a lilting voice, “and I have lived here a very long time.”

His stinger hovered in the air, but Squirrel felt the urge to trust this creature.

“Scorpion,” she said. “I have just come up from a very dark place, and I would like to know, where am I?”

Scorpion rippled his legs and swayed in amusement. “You are here. Here is here, and what else matters?”

Squirrel nodded and rose to her hind legs. “I am not used to the heat. Do you know where I might find shelter?”

“Go to the near hill where the cholla and saguaro grow. Ask Cobra for help. He is old and wise, and has lived here even longer than I.”

Scorpion pointed his tail to the east, and when Squirrel stuttered–“But”–he lashed his stinger around as if to strike. Squirrel heard him chuckling as she scampered over the wash’s lip, on her way to the den of another desert sage.


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