Sitting on my front porch in the morning and watching what Spirit has to show me has become a daily practice. It is a way that I can integrate inspiration into my everyday activities. I take what attracts my attention as a sign, a guide that I can use throughout the day to give perspective on my “doings” in ordinary life. Most often I gain clarity and insight that I might otherwise overlook were I not to have that thread with which to periodically touch base.
Our part of town still has wooden poles that carry telephone and electrical lines through the neighborhood. This morning, a squirrel scampered along the electrical line across the street. They often do this, but this morning, he captured my attention as he hurried and paused, hurried and paused, making his way to the next pole.
I thought to myself how wonderful it is that the city provides this aerial highway so that squirrels can travel safely above the traffic. If only they could see the bigger picture, they would be able to get from place to place and never have to cross a dangerous passage.
Once at the pole, he turned and scampered head-first down it until he reached the top of a small, bare tree. He then sprang from the secure, strong pole onto a impossibly thin limb at the very top of that tree, and from there made his way to the ground.
One way to work with these events is to put yourself in the place of the animal and try to experience it from its perspective. Relaxing back into my chair and closing my eyes, I envisioned myself as the squirrel.
I have occasional bouts of acrophobia, a fear of heights. Though diminished greatly over the years, I still sometimes get that panicky feeling on tall ladders, or when suspended without what I think is adequate support. As squirrel, though, I had no such concerns. I envisioned scampering hurry-pause, hurry-pause along the electrical line through his eyes, and traveled easily, eyes fixed on the pole ahead. However, I noticed that the pauses allowed me to focus my attention all around, rather than completely on the pole.
I, too, ran down the pole head-first and truly marveled at how easily such a gymnastic feat could be accomplished! I felt light in my bones and a fearless playfulness as I leaped to the treetop and felt it sway. I rode the impromptu swing for a moment, then made my way to stronger limbs and finally to the trunk and the ground.
The squirrel was not there when I opened my eyes. To my left, however, two small birds were busily plucking seed pods from the winter-barren Chinaberry tree. Somehow, they found the seeds inside and, with a vigorous shake, tossed the hulls to the ground. First I was surprised to see that any seeds were left in January, yet they seemed to be finding plenty as they hopped from limb to limb.
Even in the midst of what appears to be a barren landscape, Life provides.
I noticed, too, that they seemed to be a pair, working closely together without squabbling over the food. It reminded me that Spring is coming. From this unusually cold winter, Nature will soon emerge to continue the cycle.
No matter how cold, dark, and sometimes painful life can be, there is always an ending and a new beginning. The cycle always continues.
The birds took flight after a few minutes’ grazing. I stayed on the porch a little longer and pondered these beautiful messages of the day, then went back inside.
If you haven’t already seen it, go see Avatar….that’ll teach you something about scampering freely at dizzying heights…..