Perspectives by Rev. Arlyce Schiebout

 

The squirrel and the begonia

Recently I was walking up to the manse (aka parsonage, rectory) and noticed a little black squirrel sitting at the edge of a black pot of begonias.  Now one has to know that with 10 maples trees on the property and walnut trees on neighbouring properties, that squirrels are as plentiful here as spots on a ladybug.  They hide the walnuts in the garage, in the window ledge corners, in pots.  

My neighbour and I watch the little ones figure out how to get down from a second storey roof after they have leapt from a tree branch.  They own the property as far as I am concerned.

Now I tried to shoo the squirrel away from the pot of begonias, and reluctantly it scampered down to the porch and onto the grass all the while holding the begonia plant in its mouth. 

The reason the begonias are in pots, versus in the ground, is because after I had planted them in a few spots I found them dug up by the squirrels, so I thought the pots would ensure the safety of the begonias.  

I was most amazed though that the squirrel was not going to give up that begonia and stopped at least twice to munch on the roots before it dropped the plant and scurried up a tree.  I retrieved the plant and re-inserted it into the pot. 

This morning after watering the plants the squirrel came back.  Or maybe it was a sibling or a cousin.  It matters not. 

What I admire, however, is its (their) persistence and activity level.  I’ve heard the old phrase “busy as a beaver” but I do not recall a phrase about squirrels.  

I once watched a mother squirrel on a large limb carrying her offspring from the far end of the limb back to the nest in the hollow of the trunk and the limb.  One by one she grabbed them by the nape of the neck and retrieved them.

God’s persistent love for humanity and all creation humbles me.  God is the reason and joy and love of life.  When we wander off God hauls us back. 

Years ago a person remarked to me that he “likely was not in the book.”  By that he meant that he was likely, because of the ebb and flow of his life, not in God’s book.  

I replied that it was not that easy to be “out of God’s book.”  God never gives up on us.  God never lets us go.  God provides for us in mysterious ways.  And when we open our hearts and minds to God’s incalculable love for creation and presence in our lives, our lives are lived in a joy-filled manner giving thanks for that abundant life.  

And our rightful and only response is thanks-giving.  Our comfort in life and in death and life after death is that we belong to God.

And I just put out a little cup of water for the squirrels.  I promise not to give them names.  Peace and blessings.

Rev. Arlyce Schiebout

Lakeshore United Church

Morrisburg

 

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