The Majestic Pine and the Squirrel
I watched a squirrel this morning as she climbed almost to the top of the tallest pine tree in our woods. The pine is a very stately tree that has survived windstorms, tornadoes, heavy wet snows, and freezing rains. Freezing rains and heavy wet snows are the worst. Freezing rain, when it goes on and on for hours, forms a beautiful but deadly crystalized cocoon around all the pine branches. Needles become so heavy that some branches in the woods don’t survive and break off. Heavy wet snow coats the branches with a fluffy white blanket. Some trees become so heavy that the branches don’t survive and again, break off. Right next to it is the second tallest pine in our woods which hasn’t fared so well. It has a broken off top and some dead branches extending from its trunk.
This majestic pine has survived them all and has become the playground for this lively squirrel that I was watching. The squirrel had gone to almost the top of the majestic pine and stopped at the end of a long branch. It looked down, appearing to ask herself, should I jump? Can I make it? The squirrel went back and forth, up and down the tree truck, to the top and back down past the longest branch that was extending out. What to do? What to do? Hesitating, I assume knowing instinctively that this was a big jump, she took the risk. She jumped. She didn’t tumble down and grab on to any branch that would break her fall but, grabbed onto the branch she appeared to be aiming for. She, in my opinion, is now not the same squirrel she was before she jumped. She was more confident in what she could do and accomplish.
For those of you who read Jonathan Livingston Seagull, this squirrel reminded me of the gull in the book.
“We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. “His sorrow was not solitude, it was that other gulls refused to believe the glory of flight that awaited them; they refused to open their eyes and …”
This squirrel was different than all the rest of the squirrels in our woods. She was the “other”.
I couldn’t think of a better way to describe “other” than the example of this squirrel and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Of course, “Other” is not the only element that makes a work “art” but, it definitely should be one of them. It should be one that we look for when we call anything “art.”
Like the majestic pine that stands taller than any other pine in the woods, “art” is also about looking, questioning, wondering, seeing, exploring and taking a change like this squirrel did.