Extensive research on two websites this morning revealed interesting facts about squirrels.
One squirrel year is equal to five human years.
Squirrels in my neck of the woods live about 12 years if there is no outside interference.
The ones around here are mostly gray squirrels so it’s already hard to tell the elderly almost-60-year olds from the sprightly young adults.
But while I used to think roadkill squirrels must be the daredevil youngsters, my nephew introduced me to a saying a few years ago that changed my perspective.
“Auntie,” he said while I hesitated between two doors in a Chicago underground, “just pick one. The world is full of flat squirrels who couldn’t make up their minds.”
Much musing on this led to an understanding. Those dearly-departed rodents couldn’t make up their minds. True, but not because they were feeble-minded.
They didn’t know which was the RIGHT way to go.
It was my lightbulb, sea-change moment.
The behavior of squirrels gave me insight to my deepest self.
I’m not indecisive. Not in the way my nephew thought.
He couldn’t understand that it’s a matter of right or wrong.
Those of us raised on the Ten Commandments, playground rules, and a constant diet of morally upright books in which the heroine had to make the right choice OR ELSE have come to see the world in terms of a binary choice.
Black or white, yes or no, right or wrong.
For some of us, no decision is a small one, no choice unimportant. Which door in the underground? This one? Or that one? Run back to the left side of the road? Or dash to the right?
We hope the pedestrians behind us or the nephew in front of us will be patient while we wait for a revealing of the right door. We hope the oncoming vehicle will slow while we ponder the correct side of the road.
It ain’t easy being us absolute-type people. We spend too much time dithering, praying a neon arrow will point to the right choice, whether it’s a flat of annuals at the greenhouse or a lifetime spouse. One spouse, one flat of petunias, one door is right. Every other one is wrong.
So we vacillate, we waver, we dilly-dally. If we were squirrels, most of us wouldn’t have made it to our twenties.
You probably don’t realize how many of us roam the world. We don protective coloring. (Mostly because we know that it is wrong to inconvenience others with our hesitation.)
We have a modicum of intelligence and know how to function in a prescribed set of circumstances. We’ve established the right way to do things in most instances, weeded out the incorrect people, places and things, and learned to forgive ourselves for buying the absolute wrong color shoes when we were nineteen.
But present us with two unknown doors in a previously unexplored underground, force us to choose this side of the road or that without weighing the relative merits, and you may see us hesitate. Be patient.
Better yet, tell us which door is the right one.