I zipped into my driveway the other day and noticed that my yard has once again shed one garment of color for another. Wildflowers come in waves here; purples and blues in the storm days of June, whites in the high heat of July, gold in the mellowed warmth of August. Sunflowers line the highway now- and the square of grass I see every time I pull in the driveway. Midday was overhead when I drove in, sun was lemon butter, late day air lazy and cool, the sky stippled with cloud and blue. I sat for a few extra minutes to finish a song on the radio and at its last strains, glanced up to find two squirrels capering onto the stage of my vision.
In the pine woods beside the garage they leapt after each other in a zany chase up craggy pine knots, and thick, summered grass. One pranced my way. He was an athletic little fellow, fat and glossy as a pet mouse, tail twitching over his head like a feathered fan. He found a ping pong ball and began to toss it; round and down he went, diving to catch it and fling it up again. One of his tosses landed the ball on a knotty old stump soaked in sun gold, and with a leap he mastered it and sat as a small king, arching his ears. And then… leap, flip, whirl! A royal acrobat he was. Never have you seen such swift, wanton flips, such self assured nosedives and exuberant twists into air buzzing with gold. Triple flips and dances upon landing and an ever-triumphant return to the stump throne. At one last instant, he stood to his noblest height, ears stretching, stretching, tail twitching… he was gone.
Not an eye in the universe to see his magnificent show but God’s and mine. The dance and the play and the whirl, they were all part of his soulish property to caper and twirl, and yes, exult in the taut energy of his limbs and the yellow cool of summer and the glorious fact of his existence. No one tells him to be glad, no command is laid upon him to be squirrelishly full of life. He simply is as he was made to be.
If I could be like him, what would I be? If I were to live out my soulish properties, free of restraining voices or deceptive whispers, what actions, or songs, or twirls would mark the unseen minutes of my days? I am human and wise when compared to squirrels, yet I am slow to see, and slower yet to be that which my maker intended. The simple do really do confound the wise. When my heart is a little more like that squirrels, I shall be wise indeed.