Monday, January 4, 2010

365/4 Urban Warrior

365/4 Urban Warrior

"To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on."

Chaucer, A Knight's Tale

That's what he did when he emerged from a low bush not 10 feet from me as I walked towards car. We were both trudging, really. He towards safety, me towards freedom. The day has been long for both of us. We weary of the days toils and watch carefully for the predators soaring overhead.

I decided to introduce myself to the little man crossing my path. We stopped and looked at each other. No, not just looking ... staring each other down, visually testing each other's mettle.

There's a scene from Hero that keeps playing through my mind. You know which one I'm talking about. Nameless and Skye are facing each other in the courtyard, rain slowly pelting them. They stare at each other, pre-visualizing the impending fight, watching each subtle move of the other, until defeat is determined before a blow is ever struck. The movements are in slow motion, exacting and unforgiving.

This was the stare that was going on between us, this little guy and I.

He saw his defeat when I struck the first chord of the shutter. The only thing he could do was attempt a retreat, snail-like and massacred by failure. I gave chase, but only to record and preserve. He dodged into the brush, where, moments later, the photo was captured and he was left in peace.

I last saw him turn to look at me. I swore he winked.

And returned to my trudging I did.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating little critter... what is he?

Travis Campbell said...

It's a possum. They're common in the south. Like a large rat with stringy hair, but slower moving. They get to be the size of a raccoon or just smaller.