Last night I planned to rehearse with a pianist for today's solo class (I'll be playing Dvorak's Song to the Moon, one of my favorites from this summer at AIMS), and after a 3+ hours long ethnomusicology meeting followed by a hastily gobbled dinner at the student union, felt I needed to catch my bearings a bit before attempting to "sing" on the horn. I found a nice spot of grass on a hill overlooking the lake, laid down, and spent 15 blissful minutes watching the clouds go by.
When my time was up I stood and stretched...ah! Much better...and then headed back over the hill towards the music building.
On the way I noticed a lady standing on the opposite side of the hill laughing hysterically and following something with her digital camera. Curious, I took a moment to see what she was filming. My heart broke when I saw a poor little squirrel running around frantically, turning cartwheels, leaping sideways, and trying desperately to shake a yoplait yogurt cup off its head. The squirrel suddenly bounded in my direction, landed on the pavement directly in front of me with a nauseating "thunk," and froze. His breathing was heavy and frantic and his limbs were splayed in all directions; it was as though he landed at my feet to beg, "help me!"
I slowly bent down--trying not to make any noise that might startle the terrified creature and send him flailing away again--grabbed the base of the yogurt cup, and pulled gently. It slid off the squirrel's head with only a little resistance leaving a wake of milky strawberry slime all over its fur. With the cup removed, he remained frozen for a fraction of a second more before darting away into the safety of a nearby tree.
None of the other onlookers said anything to me, just turned off their cameras and went their separate ways.
On the one hand, I could see how the scene had been humorous...at least at first...but I also felt angry that no one else had stepped in to help the poor animal before I did. We humans can be so cruel and heartless at times...laughing at another creature's pain, finding amusement in the disgusting gore of another's life-and-death predicament. What is it that makes us so attracted to suffering? I don't know how to answer that question. Frankly, it just makes me sick.
This morning I googled "squirrel stuck in yogurt cup" to see what came up. "Maybe that lady posted her video somewhere," I thought. I was only a little surprised to discover this story (along with a bunch of others) instead. It was heartening to see another happy ending. Maybe there's hope for our species after all.