THE BLOG

How Squirrels Teach Us About Acceptance and Being Unbotherable

2015-09-21-1442856949-1934110-SquirrelhangingfrombirdfeederLeslieGernon.jpgSquirrels have so much to teach us. How not to move in a straight line, but rather, how to be unpredictable, serpentine, random. How to chase others with pure abandon. How to be at play -- always! And, how to go for fast food -- bird feeders.

Think of the angst we've felt, and wars we've waged against squirrels. Seeds "guaranteed" to be tasty only to birds. "Squirrel-proof" bird feeders with new designs each year that are more effective. Just the fact that we've named them bird feeders -- as if we could declare that the natural world should behave according to our birds-only rules. And, how many of us go batty when we see a squirrel -- knocking on windows, or shouting out doors in a short-lived attempt to scare them off?

So, here's another way to view the bird feeder wars. Shift your labels, shift your thoughts. You have a critter feeder. Along with the squirrels that you feed, you hope that some birds will also get fed. When a squirrel appears, commit to sitting down for at least fifteen minutes to watch his antics with full focus. At the end, list the 37 different ways that squirrels can hang from feeders, the techniques used to move a feeder closer to the deck railing for improved access, and which squirrels are all-you-can-eat pig eaters and which are one-seed-at-a-time contemplative eaters. And, I'm betting that you'll have more squirrel laughs, than bird laughs (although birds tend to get more ooh-ahhs).

When squirrels no longer bother you, when you can accept that they're doing exactly what they do best ("easy food"), when you can laugh at and appreciate their antics you will have learned much about acceptance, non-judgment and being unbotherable.

This I know for sure about my critter feeder. The usual pattern of three birds eating and two queued on the deck railing gets preempted by the red-headed woodpecker; and, the woodpecker gets preempted by the squirrel.

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