We have a rectangular, concrete step for the side door of our house that was poured on our driveway that is immediately adjacent to our house.
When you’re facing the house, against the house, in the corner formed by the step, I found a lovely, light green, unhusked walnut yesterday morning before leaving for work.
I know the Squirrel dragged it from a tree at least two blocks away thinking this was a great storage place for the walnut.
To me, it felt like a gift.
Not that the Squirrel was thinking I could use a walnut to eat yesterday morning, but that the Squirrel knew it was safe with me.
Which it is.
You may be thinking I’m giving the Squirrel too much credit in thinking he knows he can trust me not to disturb his cache. Two years ago, the Squirrel placed a half-eaten corn cob twenty feet up in one of the columnar junipers in front of our house. I noticed it while wrapping Christmas lights around that tree and was careful not to disturb it. I like to think the Squirrel remembered that and was grateful.
Yes, it could have been some other Squirrel.
I do occasionally get annoyed when the Squirrel uses my front porch to gnaw the husks off walnuts and leave them in piles on my front stoop. If I don’t brush those husks away in time, and they get rained on, they do leave those nasty black walnut stains. It’s heartening, on the other hand, to see piles of walnut husks in various nooks around the church as I did one day last week. It reminds me of something Jesus said, “Look at the Squirrels, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
Okay, Jesus said, “Birds.”
I feel great admiration for or camaraderie with the Squirrel who is storing all these amazing treasures to come back to one day to finish. It’s something I do, too. Though I enjoy walnuts as much as the Squirrel does, it’s not walnuts I’m thinking of. It’s the blessed memories of life and work I strive to remember, to gnaw away at to see if there’s some nourishing kernel of truth in them. That’s what writing does for me. Feeds me.
Since there’s not a lot of time left before the Winter, I’ve been as busy as a Squirrel with writing lately. I spent an inordinate amount of time this past summer using my Continuing Education and Vacation time to write what participants in the workshops I attended told me is a novel. I’ve been at blogging a year now and though I have missed several weeks and though readership hasn’t quite reached the double digits yet (thank you, to those of you who do read!), I’m quite aware that writing about the Squirrel and spiders, cicadas, crickets, rowan trees, and etc. is not quite as interesting as the Kardashians. But God made me a writer, and it’s nice to be able to do that as much as I can.
To that end, I’m hoping to take a Sabbatical next summer to write. To gather some of the things I’ve stored in various safe nooks to and crack them open and scatter the husks about and hope some other Squirrels will gather around to enjoy the feast.