We looked out the front door one day, and there, sitting waiting for us to notice, was a chipmunk.
Another day, on our way out the door to the mailbox at the end of the driveway, there was a salamander, sly and quick.
And then one hot late summer afternoon, a grasshopper jumped directly at the baby when he looked out the window at it.
Those three little visitors, 'munk, 'mander, and 'hopper, became our special friends. We stopped our day many times to check to see if they were there. In the morningtime, especially, we'd spot 'munk. Sometimes he was hurrying by, other times he was waiting for us to look out. A few times we threw out a handful of nuts, the good kind including cashews. We'd spend the morning checking his progress through them. One day, just like some sort of cartoon, his cheeks were stuffed full of the bounty.
'Mander was seen less frequently, mostly baking on the hot bricks of the front porch. And he was so quick that I worried the baby might've missed him. But on that first day, he waited for us to come back with the mail and just like the little fella on the commercials, he nodded to us. Then he scampered off.
'Hopper was seen just that one exciting afternoon. What a delight he gave the baby as he jumped right up to his face pressed to the glass. Time and time again, as if he truly was trying to get him. For that whole afternoon, we took turns going to the glass to see if he was still there. And the baby would come running and do the whole thing over again, giggling at it all. And then when the sun went down, we looked out and he was gone. We haven't seen him since.
We saw 'Munk a whole lot that week before the baby went away. Everytime we looked out, it seemed he was there.
Looking back, it seems so strange this story of these visitors, like a dream. Would they have been there anyway and we only just noticed them because we were noticing everything in the whole world fresh through his eyes? Maybe that's it.
I haven't seen any of these visitors since he left. I still find myself wandering aimlessly to the door, pressing my face against the cool glass, and looking for them, remembering his little voice echoing "Munk?" Mander?" "Hopper?"