The Morning Squirrel

His bright, brown puff of a tail flicked the window, beckoning me to feeding time. He always came in the afternoon, a little bit twitchy, a little bit daring, always hungry for almonds. Or pumpkin seeds. Or whatever I had on hand. His comrade came in the mornings, silent and slow and never as eager to beg but always willing to sit and share in my company. The afternoon squirrel came only for food.

Once full, he’d bury any excess nuts in my various potted plants, tearing up my precious soil. In his defense, I always let him. Rarely would he linger. He’d never stand and stare, resting on his hind legs with his front paws crossed over his belly like a gentleman. His little whiskers never curled into an imaginary smile, nose turned up as in laughter.

No, not the afternoon squirrel. He flits about, anxious, never still, always hungry. Certainly always fed. He was the heavier of the two.

The morning squirrel comes and sits as if invited for breakfast. He waits politely for the food to be placed before him, served to him, rather than over-eagerly sniffing fingertips. Sometimes he’ll sniff the plants in greeting. Often he’ll stare into the house imagining the unending pile of nuts that must reside inside, but never is he bold enough to knock.

No, not the morning squirrel. He simply visits for a time like a neighbor passing leisurely by, making his way home before the sun gets too high.

I loved the morning squirrel. When I left that happy home I missed him most of all. I think of him often, his paws crossed over his belly, his imaginary smile. I left my potted plants behind in the hope that both might enjoy the nuts inside.

The Good Life

Sweet kisses
Morning smiles
Belly laughs
Long walks
Holding hands
Honest words
Comfy silence
The warm sun
A cool breeze
The kind of rain that clears away anything darkening your soul
Wonder
Awe
Possibilities
Relaxation
Pleasure
Lightness
Softness
Deliciousness
Ease
Learning
Changing
Growth
Trust

Most of all…
Love

Trish and the Ladybug

When Trish was little she lived in a small house with her grandparents and her older brother, Nanny. In the backyard, Trish and Nanny’s grandfather grew strawberries. Rows and rows of strawberry plants stretched from the back sliding glass door to the high, brown wooden fence.

They were Trish’s first memories, those strawberries.

Trish would wander the garden, waddling on her chunky, toddler legs over uneven soil through the strawberry patches plucking the bright red berries with her clumsy hands. She would grab them, tug them off the magical green plants they grew on, and cram them into her voracious mouth, stuffing them in with her stubby little fingers.

In one such strawberry-related memory Trish recalled Nanny trying to trick her into eating a ladybug. He disguised it as a strawberry.

His fingers snuck the ladybug into Trish’s mouth, but she bit down in an effort to stop him. She told the story over and over, a hundred times through her teenage and young adult years, of her older brother’s cruel treachery. Not until her mid-twenties did she finally muster the courage to confront him.

“You tried to make me eat a ladybug! Do you remember that?!” she asked, feigning disbelief. In truth, her older brother was just crazy enough to do it.

“What are you talking about?!?!” Nanny replied. “I was trying to STOP you! You were trying to eat it and I was trying to save the ladybug from you!”

“Oh,” she replied.

Strawberries were never the same again.