Walking through Central Park in a big city reveals a blend of nature and the modernized world. A mix of man-made trails and structures intermingle with large old growth evergreen trees, berry bushes, ferns, fungi, moss and lakes that cohabit a few square city blocks. Amidst all of this are wild creatures, including scampering squirrels, young and old, brown and grey. It seems they have become very comfortable with humanity as they approach many people passing by in hopes of getting a treat!
Observing the actions of these squirrels reveals both a sense of trust and cautiousness in them. Even though they scurry forward, they are also quick to retreat. All it takes is a gesture from a human like an arm swinging quickly forward and they will bounce back behind a tree or bush. But a slow and subtle gesture like a gentle squat and hand extended softly forth entices many to continue coming forward right up to the hand that has an offering! Whether it be nuts or seeds, the squirrel grabs the treat and withdraws back to chomp, nibble away or even stash it in their secret hiding place!
What makes these wild critters so comfortable with humanity? It seems living in the modernized world has affected them. It seems they have built a sense of trust in the human population and this trust appears to be highly instinctive. Could we humans be as instinctive and trusting of the wilderness as squirrels trusting the civilized world? Although there are endless stories of humans not trusting the wild world, there are also many stories of people who thrive in wilderness, having ventured into it for extended periods of time to experience a subtle connection with all living things, whether they be animals, plants or insects. It is true, there are many commonalities between all living things. You and I and the squirrel, a furry little rodent in the forest share more things in common than we realize. How does that make you feel? Peaceful and at ease or uncomfortable and closed? If the latter, try stretching your mind while contemplating the following:
There is no boundary between all life forms. We share the same air, water and land on this earthly plane. All squirrels breathe the same air we breathe. Together we breathe in the aroma of the magnificent trees and plants around us. Together we can play and respect and appreciate one another. These squirrels have a lesson for all humans in that we are one and the same at a deeper level. Just as they seek survival, so do we! That is the same basic instinct of all living things. So treat yourself to a bowl of nuts and squeak! squeak! in the delight of their flavour and texture. Give thanks to mother earth for all the nourishment she provides all living things!