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Friday, February 10, 2017

Squirrel Spirituality

Natural Blessing

Life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all.”
Thomas Merton

Another huge oak tree in my backyard bit the dust this week. The drought of last year finished it off. Limbs crashed onto my roof to let me know that if I didn't take it down, it would come down on its own. The thing I hated most about cutting down yet another tree—the third one in a year—was that this tree had at least four squirrel holes where lower limbs had been lopped off in the past. From time to time, I would look out my window at the same time a squirrel was looking out his. Our eyes would connect. “I see you,” I would say. I wonder where squirrels go in winter when we take down their nests.

I fret from time to time about damage done to my house by squirrels—like the time they set up shop in the basement ceiling. They're clever at finding holes in all sorts of things to exploit for their own uses. My sons and I almost asphyxiated from the mothballs I threw up there; the smell made us a little dizzy, and gave us headaches. But mothballs didn't seem to dissuade the squirrels. When we finally found their entry point, and sealed it up, the thermostat wires coming in from the air conditioner overheated and malfunctioned, which required a service call and money to repair. Those squirrels cost me dearly—but I had to respect their ingenuity, and their ability to survive naphthalene. Now that they're homeless, they may find another hole in my house to exploit. Squirrels have to live, too.

Here's the bright side of that whole scenario: since there is one less enormous oak tree in my back yard, sunlight is streaming through in places it could never penetrate before. There is an airier feel to the space. Perhaps a small herb and vegetable garden will be possible there in the spring. Lord knows, I'll need to grow my own food while I pay back the incredible cost of cutting down a tree and repairing the roof. A little garden would make the squirrels happy, too—I know from personal experience that they love tomatoes. There's a blessing in everything if you look for it.

                                                        In the Spirit,

                                                             Jane

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