I saw this squirrel standing completely still at the trolley station to-day, just staring fixedly across the street. I almost thought she was a decoy.
I took some video footage. It's pretty shaky because I was carrying a heavy bag to-day along with my umbrella. At the end of the video you can see the image move slightly down as I set down the bag and the squirrel finally runs away. I don't know if any of the things she did or didn't do had anything to do with me.
To-day's my birthday but I have tutor appointments with students all evening. My parents threw me a party yesterday, which was nice. But to-day I'm here in the university library until 8pm. I have a few gaps between meetings--like the two hour one I'm in the middle of now--and I've mostly been spending the time reading. I read the new story, "Pillbug" by Caitlin R. Kiernan, in Sirenia Digest, a good story about masks. They're talked about as organic things, naturally growing, apparently a metaphor for persona, the psychological need to define an identity for oneself to exist in the world that conceals the soul beneath. The mask being a truth, though not actual reality, as one storyteller says of stories at one point in "Pillbug". A seller of masks in the latter half talks about the need for masks to avoid becoming lost and he speaks of one who steals masks as committing a terrible crime. Yet the first half of the story has the seller of masks doing precisely that, creating a mask for a bride that effectively unmasks her groom. Perhaps some people deserve to be unmasked while others don't. It certainly doesn't sound as though the groom, who turns out to be someone ready to commit mass murder in response to an insult, deserves the respect accorded to most people. Though the latter portion of the story makes it sound like cruel and unusual punishment. I'm reminded a little of Shakespeare's Richard II, the end where the vain King Richard can't give up the crown without endless soliloquising.
Here's a nice big spider that was on my wall last night: