The Seeker

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What Squirrels Know

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I made it a point to take a walk in the park behind my condo this evening before dinner. The weather is uncharacteristically chilly for early September, but I love the feel and smell of the crisp air; it makes me want to have Fall arrive earlier.

The park at this time of year is packed with three different levels of football squads working on game plans and fundamentals and otherwise trying to master the game. They work mostly on the stretches of green inside the limestone path that marks the perimeter of the park. The action on the grass usually commands my attention because I enjoy watching athletes work on the fundamentals of their sport. Plus, the smack of pads and helmets colliding and the thump of bodies against the ground add a peculiar percussion to the dissonant chirps of whistles and shouts from teammates and adults to hit harder or better or again. Tonight was different, though, because the squirrels on the wood fence that runs parallel to the footpath were upstaging the human events unfolding a few yards away from them.

As I walked down the path and looked to my left, I saw a running back burst through the offensive line and dodge a tackler. When I looked to my right, I saw a squirrel dart along the top plank of the fence and hop over posts, like he could do it blindfolded. To my left, a tackler dragged down a receiver from behind. To my right, squirrels chased each other, turning and leaping acrobatically, trying to protect what was theirs. To my left, combatants scrambled to recover a fumble. To my right, a squirrel snatched an acorn and left dust in his wake as he raced to his cache and deposited it.

After a quarter mile of strolling through this peculiar gauntlet of skill and speed, I wanted the footballers to stop and watch the squirrels. I wanted the adults to tell them to pay attention to what is right in front of them, to what nature already knows, because it might be the most important thing they learn today, this week, this season. I wanted them to understand that you have to play the game like its not a game; you have to play it like its your life and if you don’t play it with urgency, then you’re cheating yourself. If you don’t have the dedication to action that the squirrels have, you’ll never know your own potential or power, and you need to know both to get the most you can out of life.

Written by seeker70

September 10, 2008 at 1:16 am

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