Sometimes I think of the natural world–both flora and fauna, but mostly the fauna part of it–as a joyless place, a place of survival, red in tooth and claw and all that. Joyless. Survival. It’s not a regular thought; it’s rare, actually, but sometimes it comes. Death is real and ever-present, but so is life. Oh, so is life.
There are two squirrels in my back yard that are doing their best to help me focus on the life part of things. Which is good, because that first paragraph got a lot darker than I intended.
Coffee, specifically morning coffee with my wife, is a highlight of my day. I sometimes joke about the day going downhill starting around six o’clock when we get up from it–it’s just that good. We sit, drink coffee, and talk almost every day.
Death – squirrels – coffee. Are you following me here? Good.
Now, Lisa and I both have our chairs. They’re not really “our” chairs, as in, “Tim’s chair,” or “Lisa’s chair,” but more often than not, they’re where we sit. In our chairs…the ones that aren’t really ours. (They’re clearly not, as my wife naps in mine on a regular basis when I’m not in it.)
Add chairs to the list, right after coffee.
So, it’s morning, the traditional time for morning coffee, and we’re in our chairs, settled into conversation. The dawn is just breaking, the black becomes grey, and the view through the window just behind my wife’s shoulder is getting more and more interesting. This happens on a regular basis, given our daily schedules and aforementioned love of coffee and conversation.
I have to say my wife also has a view out the window which happens to be over my shoulder, but I also have to say I don’t think it’s as interesting as mine.
My view has squirrels.
Squirrels that visit most days, probably because of the oak and pecan trees in our back yard. With my peripheral vision I’m aware of them climbing around, traveling up and down the trunks, and moving horizontally from one tree to another.
I see them with my peripheral vision, because I’m actually looking at my wife, the person with whom I’m conversing. With coffee. That’s what we do.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone, though, with squirrels being squirrels and all, that the activity causes me to be a bit impolite on occasion. There are days when they play in the trees, and I have to just excuse myself and baldly look out the window. The pair is absolutely flying through the canopy, leaping impossible leaps, ascending and descending with incredible speed, looking like nothing more than two grey streaks. On the best days, there will even be time for me to suggest that Lisa look. On those days, she gets to smile at them too.
There is life in the world beyond our walls, and it is wonderful.