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October 3rd, 2011

Often in the morning, before, during, after, or instead of meditation, i watch the oak tree in the back yard.  I have learned that it has or is an exquisite choreographer that has different ballet, jitterbug, waltz, or wild abandoned dance for me each time i look.  Often the movement seems chaotic,  bur there is always, within the chaos, a hidden rhythm which i can only notice if it is broken.  Yesterday morning that rhythm was broken by another force than breeze or gravity or whatever mysterious forces usually operate.there.  I quickly realized that the squirrel was in the branches.

Of course, i have no way of knowing whether this was "the" squirrel or simply, a squirrel.  For nine years (i do not know the LEB of a squirrel) two squirrels have played and dined in "my" backyard.  One seems more assertive than the other and has been designated "the squirrel."   His or her partner seems more reticent, less lively.  If Nikki is in a mood to chase squirrel's, "the" squirrel is more daring and taunting, the other simply keeps a safe distance.*

As i thought about the different movement in the tree that the squirrel produced, the term "suspicious movement" crossed my mind, and i immediately realized how inappropriate that term was.  Its like arresting a Black man for trying to enter his own home.  I am the suspicious one here, the intruder, the element most likely out of place.  Whether or not this tree is her/his home (is she/he a tree squirrel or a ground squirrel?  I have no idea) she/he is certainly at home there.  It may be God's tree. it may be the squirrel's tree; my claim to it is tertiary at best.

After a time, the squirrel came out of the tree into the yard.  Alternately busy and alert.  I recalled a native American describing his meditative morning walks through his village as "purposeful and directionless."  This seemed a perfect description of the squirrel's movement.  After a time i opened the patio door and walked out into the yard.  The squirrel was aware of my presence, but apparently unaffected by it.  By turns she looked at me and ignored me, moved toward me, then away.  For a split second i was distracted by the sound of the trash being collected; the squirrel vanished..**

*(It is the next day and both squirrels are out which makes me happy.  I see so many bodies of squirrels in this urban environment, that when the "partner" is not in sight, i worry.  Is she alone now?  What can that mean to her?)

**(This last must have occurred today.  Trash is collected here on Mondays)

Wendell Berry: The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry: The Peace of Wild Things

With thanks tobardcat



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