The birds are singing. The crocuses are blooming. The squirrels are friskily playing in my daughter’s fairy garden… Oh, Wait! That’s not playing. They’re practically setting up a house of ill-repute in our backyard.
Great, just what we need, more little baby squirrels looking for ways to get into our
Animals, no matter how cute, are messy. They dig where they shouldn’t, leave fur and feathers and all kinds of debris behind them, chew on stuff (like wires, ahem), and taunt my dog (who is clearly more person than animal). They represent the natural world, where things do not go according to plan and chaos seems imminent; a natural world from which modern society has created distance.
Disney solved this by hiring bunches of employees to sweep up after nature and by anthropomorphizing animals. Our food chain contains more cello wrap and Styrofoam than animal product. There are multitudes of sites whose whole purpose is to convince us to rid ourselves of spiders, moles, mice, and pigeons while others show us how to create elaborate indoor homes for rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and snakes.
I dream of someday living in Italy for a year. I picture myself picking olives and learning how to make olive oil to pour over the fresh heirloom tomatoes grown in my own orto, garden. But nowhere in that vision do I see myself picking spiders out of my hair after shaking the olives from the tree; nor fighting with slugs intent on eating my tomatoes. In my idealized version of Italy the dirt of the natural world is contained to the ground, and not on my
At 10,000 feet I imagine the messiness of the world blurs into perfection. Time allows me to see that the cycle of life might look chaotic but is actually an amazing choreography of interconnected dependencies. So while my first instinct is to call the squirrel whisperer from blog posts past (link), as I stare out at the squirrels making a little love nest, I know my only choice is acceptance.