Squirrel Safety

Things calmed down again in my head. There are many things I could credit, like the sharp splash of color from fall leaves or the sweet, smokey smell of fallen ones burning. Or the Halloween candy, like oversized, neatly wrapped prozac in a day-glo pumpkin. (Though I would like to add I have been better than last year, for sure.)

The return of zen is most likely from the passage of time, though a book a friend recommended helped guide me to stay in the moment in a way that never clicked before. We are ready when we’re ready, I guess.

I am a natural worrier, not to be confused with warrior. A warrior wouldn’t worry, would she? So I am trying to practice letting go of everything I can’t do something about in the moment it pops into my head along with a this is unacceptable. It doesn’t always work, but when it does it brings sweet sweet peace.

The thing I most enjoy about being present – and mind you, it still feels tentative and like I could simply forget to do it – is how the stillness in the moment somehow makes everything else brighter or sharper. Last weekend we walked through an art museum and I took this picture of some trees and it was the only one I took other than a painting of a renaissance man blowing a bubble through his pipe (because, duh), and later realized what was so appealing about it.

photo (12)
The Wind

When I was a kid, I used to get really excited just before a storm hit. I was the little weirdo standing in the middle of our backyard so I could hear the rustle and see the pale underside of leaves up close. The storm never lasted very long and its destruction was never certain, but the preshow with its fully charged electrons or ions or other sciencey terms was as close to drugs as a 5 year old could get.

Now, much older and wiser and terribly afraid of electrocution, I prefer to see the pale underbellies of leaves from inside or, better yet, in paintings with the family. I see trees that get shaken and whipped around and maybe lose branches, but they survive. They weather the storm even when it seems they can’t.

At the art museum gift shop, I treated myself to some colored pencils and the same day had a deep discussion with my 5 year-old under a massive canopy of oaks about why acorns get separated from their tops. We decided that acorn tops are really bike helmets for squirrels, and nevermind that the scale is all wrong or why are squirrels just dropping helmets willy nilly all over the place (because they’re squirrels!).

The fella below rides a bike made of twigs. I’m not sure about the goggles but think he bought them on a tiny version of amazon, which I would totally shop at and I am not even a squirrel.

photo (11)
Squirrel Safety

20 thoughts on “Squirrel Safety

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  1. Love love love your squirrel picture, and the total absurdity yet consistent logic of acorn tops as squirrel helmets. Perhaps you should embark on creating today’s version of Beatrix Potter’s stories, which I totally adored as a child!


  2. I love the conversation with your 5 year – that ability to just be creative, ignore the point that “they’re too small for hats” etc. We lose that as we get older, and frankly we’re the poorer for it I feel.

    I used to worry – I still do. But in my sobriety it has got different, I don’t lie in bed awake concerned I just deal with stuff generally. Is that cos I’m sober or older? Hmm – who knows I’m convinced sober as I never stopped before. My son learnt in his teenage years, he still is a bit anxious, when he went to Svalbard via Oslo we got updates of him and the case with everything he needed for 5 months every step of the way – but you can see the point of worrying about stuff like that he needed that case and everything in it. See but he generally grew out of it before he was 20 – I was in my 40s before I got it under control… sober it is I think


    1. Some instinctively know what to let go of or how to take action to control what they can. That is refreshing to hear your son is that way. I am like you in that sobriety forced and then allowed me to grow in that area too.


  3. That’s where I get waaaaayyyyy too busy- in the future. I love, in that book, how he asks, “But what is the problem RIGHT NOW?” It helps me big time.

    The whole squirrel thing is adorable and hilarious. Sober survivor squirrels unite!


  4. This post triggered several thoughts for me:
    1) I absolutely love the smell of Halloween candy. I touch my nose deep into the bag. I never want the kids to finish it because I love the smell. I remember saving mine as a kid, just to get the smell. What was that smell? (neatly wrapped jumbo Prozac?) That bag was heaven, it was mine, it made me happy. Geez, the stuff you learn about yourself from reading your girlfriend’s blog.
    2) The ‘law of rhythm’, (besides the candy) was all I felt reading these words. The natural flow of life that I’d interrupted with my crazy thinking/expectations/drinking. I screwed it up because I wanted it good … ALL THE TIME! It took me 40 years to see there was a flow to all of it, all of life.
    3) I’m going to order that book, because apparently your reading and sharing has stirred me in a wonderful way.
    4) Your writing is changing. I can’t put my finger on it. Or is it just me being over zealous? The connections seem more subtle, straightforward, yet soft, and inviting. Anyhow, thank you for the ‘squirrel safety’.
    with love, lisa


    1. Yeah, it is easy in this easy-ish time because I do have it good. Though never sure how much worse I actually had it before…seems more like my perspective was off. Either way, it is cyclical and there will certainly be “bad” times ahead and they’re part of life. It also helps to know there are lessons in each hard time, which I heard enough from others to start to actually think about that.

      I am envious you are happy to smell the halloween candy. I have a coworker like that too. She can keep a wrapped piece of chocolate in her desk and take it out and smell it for her fix. That takes some serious willpower to my way of thinking.

      Thank you for your kind, thoughtful words.


  5. So good. Thank you. Spot on. So very good. Here’s the only gift I have to give back right now. It’s a go to song I’ve been listening to off and on the last couple of days. I will picture your squirrel crossing the finish line first. No mistake.


    1. This is awesome. You’ve added a dimension to the squirrel’s personality that wasn’t there before. I can see now he is an experienced and determined racer (of course, why else would he have motorcycle goggles if not for speed?) Thank you, Whistler!


  6. Hi Kristen!

    This was just plain fun to read, and has everything… a wise message, lightheartedness, honesty… you are gifted! And the squirrel… please don’t ever say you are not an artist again!

    I’m so glad I have gotten to know you, both online, and in the real world!


  7. Love you pic and your little story with your five year old…precious times. What a lovely memory that will be for both of you and the drawing a record of it all.
    Hope you find peace from your worries!


  8. Sorry it’s been awhile since I was here last, but what wonderful POST! Love the colored sketch TOO! When you enter recovery from Compulsive addicted gambling, I learned right away to, “LET GO & LET GOD”…. With my addiction, I constantly had racing thoughts, panic, anger, and felt I was still in “Action” when I wasn’t even behind a slot machine, or at a card table. So learning to “LIVE” in the “Moment”, and simmer down the worries & stress had to be an Important part of my Recovery first thing. Well, all the prayers to my HP to help take away all the Urges & Triggers also in my recovery journey didn’t Hurt either. I live a simple life. I find JOY in things around me now that bring that inner Peace and Serenity that had been so elusive for the first year or so in the beginning of my recovery. Yes, it took LOADS of GA Meetings, Treatment a couple times around, Intense Therapy with an addictions specialist, MEDS, and many, many supportive recovery friends, Websites, and Blogs as Awesome as yours! There really is meaning to, ODAAT! Loved how you came up with the acorns as Helmets for the Squirrels!! 🙂 God Bless! Catherine Lyon 🙂


  9. Hi there, BBB! Glad to hear your out of your slump and i can see you’re definitely out of it by how cool your squirrel is! A woman who can draw a squirrel like that has a lot going for her!


  10. Definitely luv the squirrel. Of course my squirrels have the softest pads on their little paws in the US. They like to hurl themselves at my bird feeders but when they hit the pole I have it covered with utter ointment and they can’t hold on to climb up for the bird seed. It’s not cruel on my part, honest. There’s plenty of critter food I put out for them. Then on the subject of acrons – one of our shih tzus won’t sleep unless he’s under a piece of furniture. He was hit on the head by a falling acron when he was just a puppy and now he’s 14!


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