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Navigating Through Changes · Squirrel Teachings

Updated: Jan 30, 2020

Most mornings I am blessed to enjoy a cup of tea while watching the wildlife in the backyard flitting about doing their daily rituals. There is one particular huge oak tree branch I call the Squirrel Superhighway due to the amount of activity on it. It is the only branch with the ability to get the squirrels safely to the tree in my neighbors yard.

Recently, the Atlanta area had a surprise snow storm which brought 8-9″ of beautiful, but very heavy snow. Throughout the evening there were endless pops and thumps from branches and trees cracking and falling to the ground. Taking inventory of the yard first thing in the morning brought the realization that the Squirrel Superhighway was no more. The beloved route had always been there for the squirrels… and it was the only way to safely reach their destination, right?

Everyone can relate to having the proverbial rug pulled out from under them and in turn feel lost and scared. You were more than likely very comfortable with the old way, and had never expected it to change. In fact, you’d never even planned for a different route because you believed this was the one that would always work for you. Humans in general resist change. We feel safe on the highways that we navigate our lives on even if we don’t necessarily like them. It is known and comfortable…and that in of itself makes it safe.

Once the snow began to melt from the trees I watched with the worry of a mother as one by one, the squirrels discovered their main thoroughfare was gone. Some of them climbed to every other branch in the tree seeking a new route. Most of the branches looked too small to hold the weight of a squirrel, then they’d take a flying leap of faith from the shaky end of one and in every instance made it to the other tree. Then others took an alternate route of going to the ground and scurrying quickly through downed branches and fences to get back on track again.

None of them looked fearful, agitated, or even depressed. I didn’t see one give up and turn back and say “Oh major bummer, this so sucks. I’ll never get to that tree again!” That’s because all of them, like us, come wired with an accurate inner-Siri set to simply ‘recalculate’ their route and find other ways to instinctively reach the same destination.

All new roads in life might nudge you out of your comfort zone, but perhaps there are more flowers to smell along the new path. And all you have to do is believe that you’ll be ok and trust your beautifully created internal navigation system. And if that fails ask yourself: What would the squirrels do?

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