About a month ago. I was standing on the deck outside. It was a crisp, early morning, and the sun was barely up. There were many squirrels running around, gathering winter stores. It was already quite cold, but they were out diligently preparing for the coming winter. I was admiring their hardiness, watching them scurrying here and there; jumping from one tree to another; all of them seemingly with very specific goals and destinations in mind. I looked over, just as one squirrel was climbing onto a branch. He was getting all geared up to leap to a nearby tree. His little body extended like a spring. Silently he flew through the air; carefully manipulating his large fluffy tail to remain balanced and true to his mark. With cat-like graces, he deftly landed on the carefully chosen tree branch. He must not have calculated for his new winter girth, however, because the branch immediately snapped under the force of his landing. Down went the little grey squirrel; in an uncontrollable spin. Such that as he approached lower branches, he crashed through them, rather than grabbing on and stopping his fall. So, all the way to the leaf covered earth he fell, and thudded into brush below. I think I now know the squirrel word for either "fuck!" or "shit!". He immediately emerged from the underbrush, and scurried up the tree. It seemed like he was acting just like some person would, who, for no apparent reason, tripped and fell - and just got up, continuing on their merry way, like nothing ever happened....or like they "meant" to do that. Several other squirrels came to investigate the commotion that disrupted the morning stillness...they were no doubt snickering at him....He must have been quite embarrassed.
Every see the Far Side cartoon where there's a deer gracefully leaping over a fallen tree, entitled, "Nature Mistakes We Rarely See"? Its in mid leap, but, you notice there's a low-hanging branch, just ready to snag its antlers? You know the one... I have named that squirrel, "Carl"