I'm remembering the red squirrel that touched by heart on 9/11...
Yesterday morning, as planes were being boarded, as they taxied, took off and headed for their final destinations, I was walking in the woods with my cat Scamper. When we entered the woods a barrage of nuts came cascading down from a big shagbark hickory. Glancing up I saw a flicker of color and movement, and realized after a moment that there was a red squirrel in the tree top, scurrying from branch to branch, plucking nuts and sending them plummeting to the ground by the fistful. I watched this in amazement! I had seen this squirrel in the previous days gathering the nuts from the ground and carrying them in its mouth to wherever home is. But even though I have walked this path 2 or 3 times a day for 10 years, I had never seen any squirrel rattling through the treetops, chucking nuts over its shoulder as it went!
The remainder of my walk was spent in quiet and joyful contemplation of the delight of living in a world where a little red squirrel was busy harvesting hickory nuts and generally creating a racket. It was such a smart and efficient thing for that squirrel to do, and felt so homey and cozy and snug that I was simply thrilled to be alive, and honored to have been a witness to the wonder of each being going about its daily chores, preparing for the future and storing up supplies. It satisfied my soul.
When I remember September 11, 2001, I will hold this memory of a red squirrel gathering nuts as the most sacred part of my day. As we all lived through the horror of yesterday and face the unknown of our future it might be easy to hold pain, anger, fear, or feelings of vengeance in our hearts. For my part, I choose to honor and cherish my first experiences of the day, which filled me with gratitude and contentment, a wonder for the many interconnected lives that are being lived on this planet, and a respect for the importance of going about our daily tasks with just a sprinkle of joyful abandon. We all need to take care of ourselves and lay in a good crop of soul food to sustain us.
My prayers include (still) my little red squirrel.