Large agile hands reach
with elongated fingers
to grasp the Sky,
and drink the Winds.
Ragged harp and violin voices
to the Winds’
like an orchestra tuning up.
like Hawks in the distance…
on a branch
Songs, like Prophecies…
“Lean Times Around the Corner!”,
Like the latest headline,
for the Needs of Tomorrow!” I warn.
"They pass me by or Flutter their feathers…
Seeming to heed me not.
Secure in the knowledge
that Life will find a way,
even if it is the slenderest branch,
dare to live
by leaps of faith.
root to crown
with gathered wisdom,
like acorns in my pockets.
I find my balance in the
Chewing over potentialities,
as I set my stores for Winter.
Predators and Opportunities
like Wind-born seeds,
or Hawks in the Distance. "
“Home is where we tie one end of the thread of life.” Martin Buxbaum
“A squirrel leaping from bough to bough, and making the wood but one wide tree for his pleasure, fills the eye not less than a lion,—is beautiful, self-sufficing, and stands then and there for nature.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“They made little rafts out of twigs, and they paddled away over the water to Owl Island to gather nuts. Each squirrel had a little sack and a large oar, and spread out his tail for a sail.” Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
There are roughly 1650 species of squirrels found around the world. They are generally separated into three categories; ground, tree, and flying. For our purposes I will discuss the Eastern Gray Squirrel specifically and squirrels in general. Sciurus Carolinensis is a tree squirrel found commonly in the Eastern and Mid-Western United States. This species has been introduced in the Western United States, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, and also in Great Britain where it has spread across the country and largely displaced the native Red Squirrel. They prefer habitats of mature woodlands with diverse undergrowth greater than 40 hectares, although this lively Creature Teacher has been known to attempt nesting in some pretty odd places including; barbecue grills, chimneys, automobiles, and underneath porches.
During spring, summer and autumn, squirrels have their peak activity about 2 hours after sunrise and 2-5 hours before sunset. During winter, their peak activity drops to 2-4 hours before sunset. Breeding occurs from December-February and again through May and June. Gestation is only 44 days and an average litter is between 2-4 babies. Wild chases during the breeding seasons are a common site, and an established part of the mating ritual for squirrels. Females select the strongest and most capable of the males to mate with, but seldom mate with the same squirrel more than once. This is nature’s way of curtailing inbreeding and ensuring a more healthy survival.The maximum lifespan of a squirrel in the wild is about 12 and a half years, although a female squirrel in captivity lived for 20 years!
Adult squirrels normally live alone, and lactating females are especially aggressive and avoided by others. During severe weather, a squirrel will share it’s nest to conserve heat, but once the weather passes, these guests are no longer welcome. A squirrel’s eyes are located high on each side of their head and while this allows them a wide field of vision without turning their heads, their constant scanning for predators means that they almost never notice what is right in front of their noses. An important point to remember for those called by this Creature Teacher! With patience, squirrels are quite bold enough to eat out of our hands, so we should also remember this when feeding them in this manner! Never hold your edible treat between your fingers, but rather on the flat of your hand, as when feeding a horse a carrot.
Have you ever watched these audacious Creature Teachers? Squirrel is willing to leap with faith and attempt any maneuver. In his twinkling eyes, nothing seems insurmountable. When you feel stuck, and ready to give up…think of Squirrel however you know him best…red, black, tan, striped, or even flying! The type of squirrel that you are drawn to, or that appears in your life could easily influence the message they are trying to give you.
Squirrels belong to the Order Rodentia Family Sciuridae, and contrary to popular belief they rarely contract rabies, although they can carry other diseases. This family includes the three types of squirrels, marmots, woodchucks, and chipmunks. Sciuridae translates as “shade-tail”, and while squirrels are a rather vocal lot, a majority of communication is conveyed through body posture, especially tail motions. Tree squirrels have scent glands in their feet which helps them to mark their territory, and when exceptionally nervous, they can leave wet squirrelly footprints on dry surfaces!
As a Creature Teacher, this is a reminder that we leave an impression behind us even when we aren’t aware of it, and we affect the world around us with all our actions. So tread lightly! When they are preparing to bury a nut for later consumption, they crack it and then clean it by licking it and rubbing it on their face. This also helps to scent mark them which makes them easier to find, even under a foot of snow! Being clear and direct with our intentions in daily life will bring a new focus and feed us through our lean times in ways we might never imagine.
Squirrel often appears when action and boldness are required. However he also teaches us that Adaptability and Steadfastness in equal measure are essential to survive through the harshness of Winter. Like the ever-mindful Boy Scout of Nature, “Be Prepared!”, could easily be his motto. He often appears to warn us that we will need to save up for the lean times headed our way. Have you ever seen a squirrel looking for a nut he buried before the snow fell? He also reminds us to “Gather only what you need!” Fortunately, Squirrel’s forgetful thrift benefits everyone when a new tree grows from his absent-mindedness!
Key Concepts: Balance, Knowing when to be boldly audacious and when to be cautious, Practicality/Prudence, Conservation/Storing for future needs/Gathering/Preparation, Trust in Creator, Faithfulness, Confidence, Strength through Adaptability, Balance, Cooperative effort, Home and the creation of Sacred Space, Audacity, Gathering Wisdom, Silencing inner chatter, Energy, Socializing/Playfulness, Mindfulness
Associated with: Solar, Trickster and Fae energies, Hestia/Vestia, Ceres/Demeter, Ratatosk, Odin, Ianuaria, Cernunnos, Pan, Techalotl, Hima, Krishna, Greenman/Oak King, Lugh Lamfada, Apollo/Helios, Ra, Duir, Janus, Zeus
Potential Balancing energies: Fox and Canines like Wolf, Dog, or Coyote. Cats from Domestic to Lion. Trees like Apple, Rowan, Sequoia, Pine, or Cacao, but especially Oak. Fungi. Birds from Crow to Hawk, Eagle and Owl. Fleas, mosquitoes, Lepidoptera, flies and other insects. Spiders. Frogs and other Amphibians.