Squirrels!?

Winter Squirrels

winter squirrel

(Many newcomers and browsers here have wondered what the deal is here with the constant squirrel comments. I will let our own Beckita explain the time line:

By Beckita

The inception of squirrels into our conversations actually began in the comments following Charlie’s major post, “Soldiers of Christ; Missionaries of Mercy,” on November 15,2015. There is mutual responsibility for this burgeoning, nearly out-of-control interest in the critters. As in any sprawling family, each of us remembers how it all came to be from our personal lens. From how I see it, YD is the “Adam of the Squirrel Talk.” (We could also name him, “King of Roadkill.”) I’m going to illustrate my perspective with initial comments made in the thread.

You see, MP has had a long history on this site in employing elements from his nature treks as wonderful analogies for spiritual reflection. YongDuk beautifully acknowledged so on November 15, 2015 at 2:17 pm: ” I laugh with you, Michael Patrick! God takes you on such simple paths out to the woods. Much like Beckita said… And there is your place of learning and meditation and then you encourage us to get out and meditate amongst others and nature! pace bece, mio fatre!”

At 5:28pm, MP responded with an equally beautiful reply which began with: “YD, I find a bunch of similarities between the Adoration Chapel and the wilderness. Thank God for Charlie and NSR’ers encouraging one another to be a little reflection of Our Lord, Who we encounter there, to our fellow man wherever we encounter him…”

A little later that evening, YongDuk said: “You and I would agree on the Wilderness and Eucharistic Adoration Chapel! I typed a long reply but lost it. It ends that I took a 2 hour bike ride to pray and thought of you too, *but it was a squirrel killed by a car.* My thought was that you too probably prayed for the poor creature. I wondered if Doug did too and concluded that he probably would. (You and I might go more speculative theological and lament that it doesn’t have a soul and yet ask God to take it to Heaven nonetheless.)”

At this point on that evening of fond remembrance, 11-15-15, I fell off my computer chair in complete hysteria, laughing with joy-filled tears rolling. Thus: Beckita says: November 15, 2015 at 10:08 pm: Mmm, stir-fried squirrel for dinner!

Followed by: Doug says: November 15, 2015 at 10:10 pm “Hmmmmmm. Critters in heaven? Now that can be an interesting theological discussion…”

Followed by: Michael Patrick says: November 15, 2015 at 11:36 pm “Dead squirrel, eh? Ha! You do realize the American Coot (Fulica americana) is an actual water bird and I wasn’t simply making an ‘old coot’ jab, Young Duck…”

The ongoing interjections about squirrels have elevated them to NRS mascot status, evoked silly songs, poetry, wisdom sayings, analogical points, jokes and puns, in addition to becoming inspiration for shared personal stories, a focus for Christmas tree ornaments and theological points made. I’m willing to wager they have been a source of irritation, eye-rolling and perhaps outright revulsion for some. But hey! We’re family and sometimes the idiosyncrasies of brothers and sisters draw us into growth in virtue.

St. Paul says it best: As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15)

*******

As I have mentioned, when I was a teenager, we had two pet squirrels for a while. They were hilarious and playful. They would go chasing after each other, then would sweep up one of my legs, across my shoulders, and down the other leg, It felt weird, but cool and funny. Cracked me up AND delighted me every time. When I was on my pilgrimage walking across the country, squirrels were playing with or chittering at me constantly. Usually, animals would take off when I pulled out a camera, but occasionally one stuck around for a bit. Austin squirrelThis squirrel at the right started chittering at me from a fork in a tree in Austin, Texas and would not shut up. In Loveland, Colorado, I woke up one morning to hear what sounded like intermittent hail pounding the top of my tent. It was actually a squirrel on a branch above me bombarding  my tent with acorns, little sticks and stones.

When I first started this website, I was considering writing a piece entitled “Winter Squirrels,” contemplating how playful, occasionally irritable, always sociable – depending on their fellows for common defense, and how prudent they are. they store things away to get through the winter without losing their playfulness. So when the squirrel motif took off here, I indulged it because I like it – and I think they are perfect mascots for this site. Now we turn to Doug to give some more reasons why squirrels are toptally awesome!-CJ

By Doug

Here is a re-stated history on the squirrels here on TNRS:

The squirrel got its start from one of Yong Duk’s posts back on Charlie’s November 14 Post. You can find it in the achieves. Let me know if you cannot find it. Basically, YD was writing a response to a post by Michael Patrick who is fantastic at writing imagery of nature and commenting about God’s adoration chapel in nature. YD lost his reply after writing. He ended with that he went for a 2 hour bike ride and saw a squirrel road kill. At the time I read this, I caught a squirrel eating out of my bird feeder and commented that he is being fattened up for when I need to shoot him for food during the storm. Well, that started a chain reaction of hilarious squirrel comments that have included camp fire squirrels songs and squirrely behavior that has kept going to date. As such, the squirrel has sort of morphed into the TNRS mascot. Some of us are even going out to buy squirrel ornaments for our Christmas trees.

As I reflect on this, I think the squirrel is a great representation of TNRS. Here are some reasons:
1) The squirrel spends its time in the warm season gathering nuts for the long stormy winter. We are preparing here temporally and spiritually for the storm like the squirrel gathering its nuts.
2) The squirrel will unsuspectingly twitch its tail to warn other squirrels about impending danger. As preparation for the storm, we are building each other up here and helping take The Next Right Step to do God’s will and help our fellow brothers and sisters through the dangers of the storm.
3) Squirrels are very trusting animals and remind us that we will need to be entirely dependent on God and totally trust him as we progress through the furry, I mean fury of the storm.
4) Squirrels tend to run in erratic paths. This is intended to deceive potential predators as to its chosen direction so that it may escape. We may need this tactic during the storm to evade the dangers and traps of the evil one. Of course, the down side of this is potential indecision that often turns squirrels into road kill…..
5) The squirrel is the Native American symbol for preparation, trust and thriftiness.
6) This may be unpopular to some folks, but squirrels are a good food source if during the storm conventional means of acquiring food is scarce.
7) Squirrels are playful and humorous of which we have much here that builds us up as family on Charlie’s blog (later addition from Steve BC).
8) Squirrels are so cuddly cute and furry. How can anyone not like a squirrel?

12 Responses to Squirrels!?

  1. Toni Binzak says:

    Funny thing that I should come across this blog! I do run an Eucharistic Adoration Chapel- Well attempt to…. At any rate I meditate on nature and once came across a baby squirrel on a perch of a tree, followed by Mother squirrel who came out on the perch to yell at me. Mother Mary in Mama squirrel was telling me that she takes care of her children… Me. How dare I forget how she will be there in tough times.( this was a couple of years ago when I was in my doom and gloom phase) Also, this week ironically, I think of squirrels too. All that was mentioned about squirrel above have come to mind, food, preparers, cute, yet rodent like, and what is Mother Mary telling me today. Thanks for sharing the above blog and thanks God I came across it today when I needed it. TB

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Apostad says:

    I’ve been compared to squirrels from time to time. I guess it’s cuz i’m always tryin to get a nut!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. madkatmomma says:

    Squirrel! Has become a local euphemism for government getting side tracked by silly or pointless distractions. An image from the movie Up! Where the dog goes bezerk whenever he sees a squirel

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Joe Crozier says:

    Just read about squirrels. We don’t have any here in New Zealand. But we do have possums. In Australia, our backward neighbour, they are a protected species. Over here they are a pest and responsible for destruction of flora and fauna. They are hunted for their fur and up til recently featured on a South Island menu. The food safety people put a stop to that. At Christmas I send my old mum a cardie or jumper made of a blend of merino, silk and possum. She loves them and the grand children nick them sometimes. So every time I see a possum or a family of possums appearing in my headlights I try to stop or swerve and think of mum. Sadly (but probably more safely) must others run right over them. They even sell novelty possums in the tourist shops with tyre tracks through their middles. I am told, that like squirrels, they are a good food source in emergency unlike another native here that frequently forms part of our road kill: The Pukeko. It’s a bit thick and can actually fly. Why would it run across a busy road.
    ( There’s a lesson here) The survival instruction for preparation for eating this bird is to tie it to a brick and boil it for two hours then eat the brick. Tastes much better than the bird. Good old country living.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Beckita says:

      Thanks for the New Zealand cultural lesson, Joe. Interesting. While we visit here from all over the world, it can be safely said we’re all a bit squirrely, even as we continue our most important prep as the Storm intensifies.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Littlelight says:

    You all won’t believe this. I have to share to give you all courage🙂

    Our library has a collection of puppets they allow patrons to borrow. Just today, Grey Squirrel joined their ranks. When I figure out how to post a photo I will share. Everyone here will want one of these adorable puppet, I promise, LOL. My little 5 y.o. is delighted. I caught her talking to it and brushing it’s fur with her dolly brush. She said: “Mama brought you home and I’m gonna take care of you!” Now both the 5yo & the 9yo have adopted it in their posse.

    Like many of you we are going through our own intense storms. But God is good, and through it He sends many consolations, like this one with the squirrel today. It made me think of Charlie, and everyone here, and TNRS. It gave me hope, especially because we were never really squirrel people. I thought of that awesome book someone recommended here: “He and I” by Gabrielle Bossis. I thought about the Surrender Novena. I thought about how both of those things are teaching me to pray in a more profound way at a most needed time. It made me know, just know, that we are all of us, God’s People, fighting together, and He cares about each and every one of us. All of you reading this who are saying to yourself right now: “Yay but that doesn’t include me.” O yes it most certainly does!

    Yesterday, I went to the church we were married at and had a chance to pray. I told God to please hurry with some relief ’cause I might give up and not pass His test. Then I visited my father-in-law’s grave. He died before any of our 8 kids were born. I begged my fil, if he was able, to interceed for my husband and us all, and tell Jesus I love. I told him how beautiful his grandkids were and how sorry I was he couldn’t hold them here. Anyway, it was the end of a long day, I was tired, hungry, cranky. I know giving up is not an option, but it all felt so heavy then. I was telling the Lord this. I actually said to Him, it could be such a relief to give up fighting so hard…it’s all so very heavy!” I said this in resignation to keep on fighting, no matter how hard, not with any real intention of giving up. I’ve long ago learned at the end of a rough day when I’m tired & cranky is no time to pay myself any mind.

    Well, IMMEDIATELY (sorry, screamin’ caps but this was a miracle) I looked over to my right. I was driving on campus. A woman had a shirt on the back of which was printed (in screamin’ caps, I kid you not) NEVER GIVE UP!

    Haha, I just laughed. I asked Him was it any actual person or one of His angels? No matter, no coincidence there.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. jlynnbyrd says:

    I love that!❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. moreen67 says:

    I know we talk squirrels here (and other critters) but I have to let you guys know that I work on the 24th floor in center city Philly (I know my problem – ha) and I used to sit on one end of the floor and it was cool a hawk would perch outside the window behind me (can’t mistake the noise – he lets me know he’s coming)…..well I just moved a few months down the hall and my hawk (or a different hawk) is back at my window. I love quietly looking at him being so close to me…what can I say – I don’t get to see a lot of wild life where I live (however wild turkeys have been known to show up in S. Jersey). Maureen (Mo)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. justsayin392 says:

    In this area, it’s common to see fallen pine cones aplenty, ‘useful’ for decorative purposes during the autumn months. This year, the squirrels are munching on the pine cones DOWN TO THE CORE (if there is such a thing on a pine cone), and leaving behind their discards like so many corn cobs everywhere! Unfortunately, there is NOTHING decorative about these discards…interesting mulch for thought though…

    Liked by 2 people

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