As winter approaches, there a few things I look for. The obvious of course, is fall, and the turning of the leaves. I also look for the deer traffic in my backyard to increase. There is one sign I look for, however, that gives me great joy every time I see it. It’s the dance of the squirrels. This year, I have five squirrels in my yard as far as I can see, three grays, and two reds.
These little people have been busy every single day for the last three weeks, from sun-up until sundown. In my part of the world, that’s thirteen and one-half hours. They never take a day off, and they never rest, until it is too murky for them to feel safe roaming about. What machines they are! How do they do it? How does a tiny little squirrel run about for thirteen and a half hours, without getting absolutely blown out physically?
The dance of the squirrels is a special scene this year. You see, I only get to see it played out in full dress once every four years, when my very large oak tree is gorged with acorns. Some acorns fall every year, but it seems that every fourth year, the tree is overloaded with the crunchy squirrel-fare.
Two of the gray squirrels look like they’ve been digging into the acorns already. I have never seen such corpulent squirrels. One of the reds looks like he’s starving, he must be the frugal one. As the slightest squirrel in the yard, he is also the fiercest, so I am going to call him Rocky. The other red squirrel is fairly ferocious as well, but the grays, they just want to have some nuts. Twice I have witnessed Rocky chasing two of the grays out of his territory. In a yard that is just over two acres, how can Rocky tell what’s his?
This is the dance; starting at daybreak, the squirrels emerge, and commence scurrying across my lawn, digging shallow pits, and depositing acorns within. This will go on until the ground freezes, which could be another two months. The reds and the grays dance the same ballet. At any one time, I can have five squirrels all running around with a nut hanging from their mouths, scampering hither and yonder, spying the best location for their buried treasure. It never ends, so long as daylight holds.
The grays venture far and wide, while the reds remain closer to quarters. The grays are shy, and easily frightened, while the reds are much more audacious. Rocky won’t stray from his tree more than forty feet, but much of his time is spent running across my deck, within mere inches of my back door. The grays would never have such courage. After all, how brave can a gray squirrel be, when he is nearly three times the size of Rocky, and is repeatedly chased out of the yard?
Rocky is my favorite. He can flat-out scuttle! All of these little people are very busy, and I wonder if they know God is watching? If they do, are they aware how pleased He is with them? You see, these squirrels cannot be deterred. They will finish their job, or die in the attempt. They are not sidetracked easily. If something daunts them, they find a different way to do the same job. Regardless of how they do it, they will have their fill of acorns this year, and no trauma or tragedy will impede them.
How strong they are, for the grays lost a family member the other day, and still, they carry on with their appointed task. Three grays are now doing the work of four. Not even death, or mourning will keep them from fulfilling the purpose God has set within them.