The blind woodchuck rubbed her paws together furiously. She’d been digging a new burrow for weeks now and was never going to be able to get the dirt out from under her nails. The new body scrub from Goop she had ordered was supposed to be fabulous for this, but it hadn’t come yet; it was possible that her credit card hadn’t gone through.
She wasn’t actually still blind, but the nickname had stuck. It had been nearly a year since the retina-burning experience that had been the eclipse and her vision had mostly returned, but she still wore the sunglasses because she thought they looked cool. Also, it matched the picture on her Tinder profile.
Things had gotten very strange in the woods since the moon had blotted out the sun on that steaming day last August. The Fox had been obnoxious to begin with, but now he was terrifying. His orange fur was styled and sprayed so that it looked like he was wearing his tail on his head, and he had somehow gotten the idea that he was king. The weasels helped him, of course, by letting him do whatever he wanted and then covering up for him when what he did was really stupid. There were rumors that the bears were in on this conspiracy as well; that they might have even planned it. The woodchuck tried to steer clear of bears, as one had eaten a second cousin of hers just last week. Even scarier was the possum who seemed to be in control of the whole thing; his little pink eyes looked amused at all the chaos he was causing. The woodchuck had seen a picture of the shirtless possum riding a horse, and it had made her question the reality in which they were living.
The new burrow she had been furiously digging was a way out of the madness. If she kept heading north, she assumed she would end up somewhere in Canada. They were supposedly much nicer to refugees up there, and she hoped that even if she was stopped at the border, she wouldn’t be put in a cage. One of her third cousins had been arrested and thrown into a detention center called Gitmo or PetCo or something like that.
She thought she must be close. There had been a lot of shouting above ground a few weeks ago—she could hear people yelling “Puck, yea!” and talking excitedly about some cup that Stanley had won. Cups held ice and ice had something to do with hockey, so that meant that she must be in Canada.
She switched directions and started tunnelling upwards, manicure be damned. Her need to know where she was became all consuming. Her tiny paws scooped up earth like a furry backhoe, and suddenly a whole clump of it fell in her face. She shook the dirt from her whiskers as the light filled her burrow, and then cautiously poked her head up to the surface, her sunglasses just clearing the edge. She knew enough to be careful about peering out of a hole; one of her fourth cousins had been hit with a golf club swung by a groundskeeper. For some reason, she remembered that every time she heard a Kenny Loggins song.
A ray of sunlight beamed from the clear blue shy, and for a moment she was filled with joy; she had made it! She would feast on poutine tonight! But suddenly the sun was blotted out and a huge shadow covered her face. Was it another eclipse? She wasn’t prepared! She was wearing the wrong kind of glasses! She was going to burn her damn retinas again!
But it was not the shadow of the moon that passed over her. A giant orange baby blimp floated above her in the sky, its’ tiny hand holding a phone while waving in the breeze as a crowd of people below started cheering. A drumline joined in with the voices, and then bagpipes added their wail to the cacophony. The sound was deafening, as people began to chant “Lock him up! Lock him up!” This couldn’t be Canada – those northerners were much too polite to be making this much noise.
The woodchuck glanced around, trying to find some kind of a landmark to help identify where she had ended up. There was a statue on a very tall pedestal directly in front of her and she squinted up to see if she could recognize who it was. Of course! It was Lafayette! She hadn’t seen Hamilton yet but she would recognize Daveed Diggs anywhere!
That meant that this must be Lafayette Park, which was located . . . where? A huge white house with columns loomed in the distance as a shiver of sharks danced past her holding a sign that said “You have terrible taste in chums!” when the realization finally hit her: this was not the birthplace of Wayne Gretsky. She must have veered too far east, and that meant . . . New York City! This must be Times Square!
A large lit up sign blinked “LIAR!” and another one screamed “TREASON!” as she took in the scene. The crowds were growing and the energy was palpable in this city where no one ever slept, including the person who lived in that big white house across the field. Off in the distance, a song was beginning, and she could barely make out the words:
Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
The tune was familiar and she began to hum along. What was this song?
Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free!!
The music swelled as the masses raised their fists and marched toward the white house. In perfect four part harmony, they raised their voices as one and joined into the chorus that promised that they would not go gentle into that good night!
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!
The woodchuck sang along loudly, thrilled to the bone to be a participant in saving democracy, when she suddenly realized what it was. The song was from Les Miz, which was on Broadway, and that meant only one thing:
Maybe she could get Hamilton tickets!
The woodchuck does not have a very good grasp on geography, but you have opposable thumbs and Google maps. Protests are happening every night in Lafayette Park across from the White House. You are encouraged to join the chorus on August 6 for a spirited rendition of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” And if you are in Canada or somewhere else, donations are being encouraged to buy bigger and louder sound systems.