Saturday, October 9, 2010

Squirrel Tales

It was a fine summer day and Mr. Gray Squirrel was busy gathering black walnuts for his storehouse. The summer crop was ripening and soon the cool fall days would proclaim winter’s approach. Scampering from branch to branch then onto the fence with his jaws stuffed with nuts, he paid little attention to those humans watching from the driveway nearby. The fence was made with posts and rails with the fence boards nailed on both sides. There was a hole just big enough to crawl through with a walnut. He had the cavity about half full and there were plenty of nuts left.

Mr. Blue Jay watched from a nearby branch and chirped a warning to be alert. There could be danger about.

Squirrel paid no mind; he was too occupied getting the best ones for his hoard. Back and forth he hopped. He would have a good supply to keep him fed through the winter and spring until the trees provided a new crop.

Many years earlier a chipmunk was scampering in the bright sun among the leaves and pine needles. He sought pine cones for the seeds they contained. He too was storing food for the approaching winter.

A young boy watched envious of the chipmunk’s freedom. In truth, the small animal was bound to a path and activity that should he stray or neglect would lead to tragedy for he and his family. I would like to catch the chipmunk thought the boy to himself. I would make a home for him and we would play together. They boy began the chase but discovered that it was much easier to dream of capture than to make it happen. Usually the chipmunk sought refuge in the trees but once he made the mistake of hiding beneath a 55-gallon drum used to collect trash from the campers. Now the boy thought he had they animal trapped and would take him captive. He tipped the barrel up a little ready to catch the chipmunk when he came out. But he didn’t come out. When the boy tipped the barrel, it pressed down on the poor animal’s head. He lay twitching on the ground. He no longer raced among the leaves and needles but staggered spastically in small circles. There was no healing the mortal wounds and soon the chipmunk lay still. The boy was saddened by the results of his actions. He didn’t want it to turn out as it did. He thought only of his own wants. He knew little of the consequences that could result. Wiser minds could probably not have predicted the ultimate consequences but they would have foreseen that the captivity of the wild creature would not have been good for either the boy or the chipmunk. Scripture talks of ‘looking through a glass darkly’ as we progress through our time on earth with clouded vision for what is to come. Doing the best we can is what we seek. In my work I can erase a line I have misplaced. It is even easier now with electronic graphics. I cannot restore the blameless chipmunk to life no matter how much I would wish to.

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