I spend a lot of mornings on my front porch, browsing the paper, checking some email, reading my book and watching the squirrels. That’s right watching squirrels. When I moved to Ontario in 1994I was shocked at the sheer size and number of these beasts. Being from Newfoundland where squirrels were introduced in the 1980’s, I had not seen a lot of these furry rodents. The ones that are in Newfoundland are small and sort of red or brown I guess and they are not fat. They are so small in fact that when Catherinanne first saw one in Newfoundland she was convinced that it was a chipmunk. But these less than bashful behemoths from south-western Ontario are huge. I still remember my sister-in-law Clara being totally amazed at the sheer size and number of these scurrying scavengers. They are really a force to be reckoned with.
Over the years I have noted that they seem to have a penchant for play if not performance when there is someone watching. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “A squirrel leaping from bough to bough, and making the wood but one wide tree for his pleasure, fills the eye not less than a lion,—is beautiful, self-sufficing, and stands then and there for nature.” These mornings spent out here have been confirmation of that for me. Whatever it is about watching two squirrels using an Oak tree as a rollercoaster, it is really quite fascinating. I have enjoyed every minute of it indeed. They are a marvellous display of nature and a wonderful show of energy. As I watched one chase another a few minutes ago, I was almost exhausted. Up, down, around, upside down they went. It was fascinating really. God’s creation – nature in its fullness. And truthfully, those little “rats in fur coats” (from sex in the city I think) were as majestic to watch as any creature of the world.
What can I learn from these squirrels? Play is good? Exercise is good? Eat a lot of nuts? Never run in front of a car? All those are good tidbits I guess. But the one thought that I pull out from this morning is also from Ralph Waldo Emerson; “The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship.” In this moment of today I have found a place of worship. In this moment I can pay homage and respect to my creator for the gifts of these creatures, for the gift of this day and for the gift of the people in my life. I hope today to find the energy to get on my own rollercoaster and run, up and down, around, inside and outside, with the enthusiasm that one should have to be part of a world so full of wonder. Oddly each day brings so much; some of it really exciting and some of it downright depressing. The squirrels will be back tomorrow morning running and going, weather they had a great day today or not. I pray that we all might be able to take that lesson to heart. Tomorrow is another day and we have to jump on and go. I’m off…..