Monday, February 27, 2006

Some Squirrels Don't Fly

I was just remembering a story told to me by a Cornelson. About a time when they were camping in the woods and they heard odd sounds and upon inspection discovered a squirrel dying on the ground. In the middle of a campsite under some tall trees. So I guess it turns out that sometimes they don't make those crazy jumps. Sometimes it would appear that they meet ground at speed. But they keep jumping from branch to branch, looking graceful and crazy. Despite the apparent danger I don't think they really give it much thought. Not like me.

If I were a squirrel I would probably not be the one launching those crazy gaps. But then again, I'm not a squirrel and there are probably other factors. Like a fear that requires action. Like in Watership Down. Those crazy rabbits. That's one psycho book. Excellent too. Apparently while in the midst of strong emotion things get done that one normally wouldn't consider.

I remember a time when we were camping at Writing On Stone park in southern Alberta and we were playing a game. I don't remember all the rules but it involved running, not getting caught, and hydrosticks (think kick-butt water propelling tubes). Steve was running from someone and so intent on evasion that he jumped this rather large nasty gap onto the top of this hoodoo. He then became aware of his situation. There wasn't enough room on his precarious perch to build enough speed to jump back the way he'd came. Instead he had to launch out and down across a larger gap to get down. Which he did.

He made it. The squirrel didn't. The squirrel probably had more experience but I guess it didn't help. And somehow I admire the squirrel. I admire something in Steve at that time. Perhaps it's the living with abandon. Not being concerned with the consequences. Sometimes that seems pretty cool. Sometimes it seems like to live you need to do stupid things. But I don't really agree with that statement. But there seems to be some sort of life in those moments. Perhaps it's the proximity to death or serious maiming. And perhaps we often feel safe and secure. It's been a long time since I jumped from one branch to another. Actually if I accurately remember my childhood I never did the branch walk high up in the trees where we lived. Crossing from one cedar to another balancing on the branches.

Am I less for it? But I'm alive. But am I alive? I think so.

We live so oblivious to danger. So unaware of our surroundings. We so easily hop into deathcan's and cruise down the road thinking we are safe in our space. Thinking harm will not come to us. I wonder if the squirrel thought, if that's what it'd think?

So much of life is perception. The reality is that we live a finite time in a deadly world. Maybe it would be beneficial if I thought of that more often. Without getting paralyzed by fear or paranoia. Perhaps in our acceptance of "safe" blinders we've surrendered the thrill of living in life. The enjoyment of every moment swallowed in an unconcerned monotony of routine.

So often we think on a horizontal line, a spectrum, between two options. Boring life or Glorious death. The reality is different. There are glorious lives and boring deaths as well. And everything in between and most likely outside of as well.

And mostly we're lazy. As much as we'd like adventure and life it is dangerous and scary and so much easier to do nothing. To let life leech away in half-hour reality tv segments, alternate realities of book and computer. A psuedo-life, a psuedo-adventure, that much like fast food leaves you sitting on the can unsatisfied.

Still something draws me back to that squirrel. I suppose that squirrel lived till it died. It ran and it jumped and it lived. And it fell to it's demise. Unlike the chipmunk. It didn't die falling. It's chubby ass got nailed by a car. I think I'd prefer the fall.


Nate said...

hahaha jordo, you are rich! miss ya man! If you ever want to make a roadtrip out to winnipeg, you definitely have a place to stay. I mean, c'mon, staying with me and reuben? how long can you really pass that up? shall we say next weekend ;)

loved the final comment about the fatass chipmunk.

t.j. said...

What's the last thing going through a squirrel's mind before it hits the deck?.....its tail.

Glad your set up in the flats. i hope it goes well for you. I cant beleive yoru a dean! dont let your students learn of your former bowel tenant...they'll never let u hear the end of it;)