"Squirrels teach us balance within the circle of gathering and giving out. If you are doing too much of one or the other, squirrel may appear to help us."
- Ted Andrew's, Animal Speak
My father and I always go to the same restaurant for dinner. As Dad sat talking, a squirrel jumped up and placed a black walnut on the windowsill. I turned to see the squirrel looking in at the people eating. He seemed to survey the scene and decide that this eating-place was a good location to store his walnut for the winter. After flicking his tail he scurried away, leaving the walnut behind.
Dad said, "Did I ever tell you about the time I stole a bushel of walnuts from the squirrels? It's a true story you know." I remembered the story but asked to hear it again.so he began.
"It was around this time of year and I had gone out to the woods to pick some wild mushrooms. I was walking around when I heard a "plop". You know, like something dropping. So I stopped and listened. There it was again: plop - plop, plop.
"I looked around and saw a large black walnut tree full of squirrels. They were cutting off the walnuts and letting them drop to the ground rather than gathering them one at a time. So I said to myself - free walnuts! I'll just go and pick my mushrooms and come back in about half an hour for the walnuts. They should be done by then. So I did just that, and when I came back I gathered up all the walnuts and brought them home.
"I laid them out in the attic of our home to ripen and dry. What a good feast that would be!
"A couple of days later I came home at noon for lunch. Your mother was very upset. She said, 'I don't know what is going on around here, but there have been squirrels coming and going all morning. They are driving me crazy!' (Now I should tell you that squirrels have a very keen sense of smell, which enables them to find their stored caches even if they forget where they buried them.)
"I thought a minute and then raced up the three flights of stairs to the attic. I threw open the door to find that the squirrels had only left me one black walnut. Well, at least they left me one. I picked up the remaining walnut only to find that it was as light as a feather. It was hollow - a dud - and they had only left it because they didn't want it!"
My father laughed to remember how the squirrels had indeed taught him a lesson about gathering and giving out.
We finished our meal and as we left the restaurant we walked by the black walnut on the windowsill. I had to stop him from reaching out and stealing one yet again from the squirrels.
Published in TONE Magazine, November issue 2003
Published in International Reiki Magazine, December issue 2004