I’ve been home a lot this past week, well since I got back from my trip home to Jamaica. Mr. Man also had a study abroad trip to China for his class and I suppose we’ve both been recovering since with trying to get back on schedule and sorting out our items for the winter. By the way, Autumn/Fall officially arrived; it has been wet and COLD! During the days, my favourite spot to read and write, let’s just be honest here and check facebook, happens to be in a chair which faces our porch. I open the blinds, which lets in a lot of light, get cozy on my arm chair settle in with the laptop and I am good to go. One big plus to this arrangement is that with the natural light I feel awake, refreshed, get an opportunity to watch the cars go by but really just check out the view of our little world. It is also my prime location for watching the laundry room, when it’s full. From my vantage point I am able to spy the exact moment when someone leaves with their laundry in hand which means a machine is open! I digress.
We have a tree directly in front of the porch, a Dogwood (I am fairly certain it is a Dogwood but I am no botanist) it has berries, well I should say it had berries. Up until these past few weeks I had no idea that the berries were edible but, oh my friends, they are especially so for our resident Squirrel. He visits our tree every day. I am fairly certain that it is the same Squirrel as he’s a little territorial with the others and looks the same to me at least.
I first became aware of our little friend a while back when one morning, in my routine, I noticed that the tree was swaying in a most odd manner. I figured we must have an animal in it and based on the movements of the tree I assumed it was one of our feral cats trying to climb up for a bird. Not so, it was in fact just a very healthy squirrel. As I watched on that morning I was reminded of a hymn I sang in Sunday school as a child, some of the words which immediately came to mind being …all things bright an wonderful all creatures great and small…, I even had flashbacks of the arm movements we would do while singing. I have grown accustomed to my little friends’ visits. He’s completely unafraid of me which I didn’t expect at all but, after our initial stare down one day we now have a relationship, an understanding of sorts. Now when he sees me watching he simply pauses for a minute, looks me over and gets back to work.
What fascinates me the most about my squirrel is that he is so conscientious. He never stops going, he comes everyday and can be found diligently picking each and every berry. He also doesn’t allow for any waste I have noticed. He patiently climbs to the next branch, settles down for a bit if it sways too much for him to keep moving (my tree is not that strong or big yet) and then continues to move to his destination. Perhaps a week ago we had berries covering the tree, today there are only a few left, and the tree is also now mostly covered in little white buds where we will have flowers in time and the stubs where the berries once were.
In watching Squirrel, I have been reminded of what it means to move through life with a sense of purpose and determination. It’s that old adage “Eye on the Prize!” I often find that when I am consistently faced with challenges pertaining to one particular goal I begin to lose momentum and that little self doubt comes to the surface. I haven’t shared this detail yet in my stories but, I am currently working on registration examinations for my profession. I have 5 more examinations to complete and have so far passed the few which I was most confident and comfortable with. While Mr. Man completes his program we had determined that in this transition period I would have the best opportunity to complete my examinations. I am however, just being honest, a little scared of the next round. One of them in particular the minute I look at the graphic section, causes my stomach to clench and rumble. It’s funny the things that affect us. I am not exaggerating, not much anyway, it is a subject area that is often spoken of in our professional circle as one of the most challenging. You know it’s bad when on the forum for this particular subject area, there is little to no talk of the multiple choice section but pages upon pages covering the graphic section. At my old job my boss shared his experience with this examination, he had struggled with it too and he actually encouraged me often to “take the plunge”, “throw caution to the wind” saying at least you will have the experience of it. Oh how difficult that really is.
I haven’t seen or heard my squirrel this week. I ventured out today, in the cold at that, to inspect and I now realize that his job is done. I also can see that some of the berries which I had determined were completely out of reach for this chubby little fellow are gone! This little fellow having found the jackpot in our tree, having determined that this was some good eats and with the winter scarcity approaching, has worked tirelessly and consistently and in just a few weeks has completed his mission. He didn’t care that the tree branches were not easy to climb, he didn’t care that there were probably easier berries to eat on a neighbouring tree. His job, he had decided was to systematically and thoroughly get each and every one of those berries. This is perhaps why he didn’t care about me watching him, bigger fish to fry for him. He was just taking care of business.
I did some research on our variety of squirrel. They apparently enjoy eating the berries of the Flowering Dogwood among other things and with the winter, although they don’t hibernate, he will become quite scarce. He will do most of his foraging only in a few morning hours so I may not see him for quite some time. They also have a relatively short life span, about 5 years, hmm the same number as my examinations remaining, okay now I am just reaching.