I was at Edwards Gardens this afternoon when I had an expected encounter with a groundhog. I had managed to find a rather secluded bench (because I always go to public places to get away from people) and had just pulled out my notebook and pen when -- BOOM! GROUNDHOG! Okay, there wasn't actually a "BOOM" involved. The groundhog was silent and stealthy. One second, I'm all on my lonesome and then, suddenly, there's this groundhog staring up at me. I mean, he was right by my leg and I think he was seriously considering whether it might be worthwhile to climb up on the bench beside me. He looked a lot like this:
I stared down at the little fellow in surprise and trepidation because I was afraid he might really climb up on the bench beside me. Our exchange went something like this:
groundhog: You realize I'm looking for food, right?
groundhog: So, do you have any?
As it turned out, I had some broken vegetable thins. I was saving them in case I came across a friendly chipmunk or squirrel. I never expected to be feeding them to a groundhog. I threw a couple of pieces on the ground, wondering if he would even like them. He sniffed one cracker before quickly wolfing it down. Then he looked back up at me expectantly, so I threw some more vegetable thins at him. He ate those too and then seemed torn between taking his leave or asking me for more. As I'm a total sap, I gave him some more. After that, he left. However, that wasn't the last I saw of him.
There are these rocky ledges throughout the bottom level of Edwards Gardens. People often stop to sit on them, but they also provide a kind of animal network. Chipmunks will pop up through cracks or disappear down holes. From my bench, I could see a group of sparrows hanging out on top of a higher set of rocks. It wasn't long before Mr. Groundhog joined them. I watched in amusement and disbelief as he chewed on a crab apple. I could only see his head, but the rest of his body appeared when the apple rolled away and he had to reach out to grab it. Unfortunately, he took off when a group of people walked past, but I saw him one last time in the undergrowth near my bench. He had a huge carrot in his mouth. I have no idea where he got it. It didn't have the leafy green top, and I think it might have been peeled, so maybe someone having a picnic dropped it. In any case, he seemed very satisfied with his prize.
Despite all the distractions, I did manage to get a tiny bit of writing done. However, I have a feeling I might do better with the writing session I have planned for tomorrow morning. The closest thing I have to a groundhog in my apartment is a Vancouver Island Marmot. He's a stuffed animal, so he should be safe.