Thursday, October 30, 2014

THIS TIME OF YEAR: SQUIRREL WITHOUT UMBRELLA

I love fall!

My newest habit is a result of cooler weather.  But a warm front came along, throwing the digits back into the miserable eighties.  Really?  At the end of October.  But that is just October.  My favorite month.  Apple pie.  Football.  State Fair.  Reading a book sitting by an open window.  The sun changing.  Baseball.  Caramel.

A cool evening draws me out outside into the early dark.  Faithful pup runs up the stairs, stomping in the leaves just beginning to fall.  Happy for company, he grabs a twig to catch my attention.  But I am busy lighting a candle, setting down a mug of marshmallow overflowing hot chocolate to strike the match.  A perfect fall evening of solitude.  No air conditioners, just a low current of night time noise. I pick up my phone and begin my latest obsession - Spider. Peace, quiet and relaxation.  A tonic for a goodnight's sleep.

Then the artillery begins.  The thawacking sound of an acorn letting loose, dropping through levels of leaves, ricocheting off the roof.  I raise my hand to my head as minimal protection.  I'm reminded of a New Year's Eve at our previous home when nearby celebrants fired Happy New Year into the sky.   

What goes up must come down.  A girl, a bow, an arrow.  Standing in the middle of a quiet street, she leans back, shooting the arrow up into the blue.  Gravity sends the arrow back down.  Her little brother picks up the fallen arrow and the process begins again.  Grandchildren entertaining themselves outside while the adults visit in the house, not knowing.  Brother and sister playing well together.  Up it goes and down it comes.  At some point, little brother has questioned the operation and is running around with a dishpan on his head.  "Where is it?  Where is it?"  He runs to stand next to his sister, sticking to her like glue.  He can't see the arrows as they come whooshing down through the leaves.  She is not afraid, then, now or ever.  Until one of the arrows pierces the roof of a car parked at the curb.  The game is over.  They retreat quickly into the house.  "Did you children have fun?"    

A dishpan can be the perfect accessory when the sky is falling.  And some days, weeks and years, the sky seems to be falling past our comfort level of general calamity.  Of course, it's not general to the person experiencing calamity.  In just seconds, our perception can change.  Running around with a dishpan on our head, shouting about the sky falling can make matters worse.  Watch your step.

This was just a little thing.  But I am into little things.  Last week, I was in traffic on a four lane thoroughfare, a major east west connector and also a primary exit off the interstate.  This road runs through red lights, past strip shopping centers, churches, schools, drug stores, banks, the gym I sometimes think about, local and chain eateries, the vet's office, the grocery store, my favorite antique mall, apartments, entrances to lovely subdivisions.  

There are trees everywhere.  And poles connecting this to that with wires crossing the street.  A wire was silhouetted in the sky.  A little squirrel was running across with a mouthful of acorns or nesting material sticking out of his mouth.  Zippity Do Da.  Zinging across the certain canyon of death as thick traffic traveled below.  One slip of a little foot.

But he was on a mission.  Building a nest and gathering supplies.  He may have the advantage of not sensing the perilous situation.  He just did what he had to do.  No quibbling.  From watching squirrels in my backyard, I doubt he gave a second thought to jumping out on that wire.  He didn't test the tension with his foot or grab an umbrella for balance.  There were no news cameras set up to record the event.  He didn't stop to consider the traffic below.  He was moving along even though the very scary was right below.  A squirrel has to do what a squirrel has to do.  I think that is amazing.  The something inside of him that says nuts to gather and nests to build.  This is that time of year.

His sky is falling.  Acorns.  Manna.  Provision.  

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