Monday, February 05, 2007

Cal Squirrel Whispering

UC Berkeley has a subculture of furry flittering-tailed creatures. Squirrels. Having grown up visiting Capitol Park in Sacramento, I've a great love of squirrels.

I'm Stephanie, and I'm a student at UC Berkeley.

While the courses are amazing and the city is alive, this first post, I felt I should dedicate to something I feel is a bit of a metaphor. The other day I stepped out of Dwinelle Hall on campus at ten in the morning. I walked toward the south gate when I for the first time consciously noticed a small gaggle of brown furry campus squirrels. I realized at that moment that the hordes of students simply left them alone. Sometimes they'd feed the squirrels, but nobody attempted to approach them, or generally notice them beyond the opportunity of feeding them.

I had time to kill and attempted an experiment. I walked up to one of the squirrels munching on a peanut shell. I had some pistachios in my bag. I kneeled in front of the little guy -- about a foot away -- and held out a pistachio. He squirreled up to me, sniffed the nut and jumped on my shawl. I pulled the treat back... and the little feller jumped on my knee. So I gave him the nut, then offered him another. And another. Continuously. And after a moment, I extended my index and middle finger toward the back of his neck. And while he feasted on my pistachio snack, he let me pet him.

And the hippies stared in awe.

I love going to Berkeley. Give the squirrels a Nobel Peace Prize.


Steph is a University of California at Berkeley student. W.E.T. River Trips welcomes her musings as a college student and her experiences at one of our favorite universities!

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