Parking Lot Dumpster Squirrels

There is life in my parking lot. Which is to say, things are happening. The squirrels live in a tiny little park nearby, and they eat in the dumpsters. These furry, grey animals are largish and bushy-tailed, maybe a bit more worn than say a suburban squirrel.

I wonder if those two types of squirrels met, how would they get along?

The lot is full of holes and crumbling asphalt that won't stay still, continually crushed by a giant invisible hand responsible for the disarray of parking lots facades everywhere.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Up through one side of the lot is a tiny sliver of space left for cars to pass through, scrunched between two other buildings that serve as a natural frame for the scene beyond the walls. There you can see the Prudential Tower, standing tall and alone in the distance, colorful at night, a straight-shot.

A restaurant makes up one side of this frame. I can see the people doing the work from the door in the back; smoking cigarettes; dragging trash to the dumpster, piling it on top; accepting deliveries; talking with friends.

The back of the restaurant facing the lot is filled with an entire long stiff row of big windows, except there are no windows, only bricks. The bricks are newish bricks so the color is different. There are trees, too, but only a few, all huddled together and scratchy looking, leaves absent even in leaf season.

One of the trees fell on a car last winter, so now it's just a stump and sometimes a woman sits on the stump and smokes a cigarette while her car warms up. 

The dumpsters rule the scene. The parking lot is the land and the dumpster is the castle.

People come and go all day and night. They fill them up, then top them off. Soon the dumpsters are overflowing. Items that may still be of use are simply put next to the dumpster. People come, they peek inside, some have sticks, and they move the contents around like they are wielding a giant cauldron.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Their idea of what can still be used is different. Bottles are placed on the side for the collectors. The squirrels are eating their meals here; they poke out when you come by, staring at you with tired squirrel eyes and wondering if you pose a threat.

You do not. They know that. These aren't suburban squirrels. Here we are equals. But a neighborhood hawk, even though it sounds ridiculous does actually exist, flies by and perches on one of those few empty tree branches. Time to go.

The pigeons and crows scatter to the wind, chirping alerts for all to hear: intruder, death. And so you see, life is always passing through the parking lot, but it's also here, it's also happening.

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