Well, the inexorable passage of time has bought about the inevitable. When Kelly arrived home today she said somewhat forlornly, “There’s a dead squirrel on the road down there". I immediately ran down the steep hillside in the pine forest, the same one I grew up on many, many decades ago. My furry red friend was lying motionless on the street, surrounded by shadow with just a sliver of late afternoon light falling upon his body through the tall trees. The sight was really amazing: gritty tarmac, lifeless body and a single slice of light shining through the pines. Shadows imperceptibly descended all around, while silvery particulates shimmered silently in the single luminous shaft that radiated down from the sun and touched the lifeless body before me. To see this manifestation was stunning; how did it happen to be that at that this precise moment of passage, the only light on the road was directly illuminating the dearly departed? How did this animal spirit escape its body here in this place, bathed in a beautiful beam of heavenly light? How am I now connected to this moment in all eternity with this very same light falling upon me?
There is no picture of this moment in time. There is only the memory. Someday, that too will be gone. And yet...the time circle remains, looping forever, informing itself, expanding cosmic consciousness and, as a result, spacetime itself. For they are the same and connot exist without each other. The illusion of duality is born and dies with each of us, and those two opposite things make three of a perfect pair, a holy trinity, yin-yang enscribed within a circle.
I would have rushed to get my camera since the scene was
so mystical, all light and shadow and squirrel, and me, but there was purity in the
passage of this animal, a balance that transcended anything I could have
captured electronically but surely embrace in my drreams. An image seen but not taken, something that was once there and is now forever gone...and yet remains in the loop of time that contains me, flows through me, *is* me.
"People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." - Albert Einstein
The light filtered down through the branches of the trees as I stood there and marveled at the ethereal beauty of death before me. The profound beauty of my own death is entangled with this creature forever, for we are all but facets of the same infinite, expanding consciousness, with our bodies identically made of the same star dust.
Carefully, I picked up the still-warm squirrel, carried him to the side of the road and went hunting for an appropriate bark bier. Amazingly, there was not a mark on the body, his eyes wide open, alive mere minutes before. He was soft and warm. Once he was on the bier, I held him against my heart and carried him Home.
I brought him back to our yard where he played every day, where he hoarked down the piles of bird food we put out, ate the doormats and wooden railings (dammit), dug up the succulents (nooo, not the succulents) and generally tore the yard to shreds. You just can't trust rodents...but you can know and love them dearly.
We have several squirrels representing two
distinct species, and both cause hilarious havoc and occasional mayhem in our garden. And
yet, of course, they are utterly delightful. Sadly, the red squirrels
are displacing the gray squirrels rather quickly [edit ten years later in 2018: they're long gone]. In fact, I was
initially panicked that the victim might in fact be our sole remaining gray,
who had recently built a nest high in a tree at the edge of our property
near the road. I love the grays more than any other rodent species. They have wonderful bushy tails and
make the most marvelous barking chatter noise as they go about their
business in the forest canopy. We never used to see the reds at all
until recently; not until the past two years perhaps. Hardly see the
Grays (Sciurus griseus) anymore; the red Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) that
is displacing them is decidedly pernicious (but still cute). Here’s the single gray-tail
that’s left in our yard, one of the few now left in this slowly-dying forest on the hill (it needs unwanted wildfire to be reincarnated again):
Anyway, we have (or had, anyway) three reds, but one got mange and disappeared, the big male was just clobbered on the road and (hopefully) the female is pregnant and still around. My (late) friend seemed to have made a nest with his female counterpart in the tallest old pine tree in the yard that we aptly named "Gigantor", which will no doubt fall spectacularly in my lifetime, squirrels and all. I think they were having wild rampant rodentl sex up there, and they would chase each other around and around the tree, up and down the trunk, all bushy tails and scrabbling paws, like a squirrel cyclone out of a cartoon. They would chase each other across our deck and down the stairs into the yard. The staccato thumps as they bounded up and down the steps were absolutely hilarious. They would drink from our fountain and wash their paws in the water after frolicking.
But all things must pass.
So, no signs of trauma, thankfully. Gratitude and acceptance. The light fell upon his body, the shadows fell upon the trees...
The naturalist in me relished this opportunity for a closer inspection of the creature...and the shaman-warrior-healer too, wanting to be in some way imbued and imprinted with the spirit of the animal. He rested on the bark bier on the same railing that he had scampered upon this morning. The first thing I noticed was the softness of the pads on the feet; very, very sensitive. The feet really were amazing: incredibly large paws with short nails (no doubt from constant use). Beautiful orange choppers in a pink mouth. Short stubby ears (diagnostic for the species, along with the foxy fur). The limbs were very strong for scrabbling around and hanging upside-down. This particular specimen was well-fed thanks to our yard of treats and had a beautiful, luxurious coat that was wonderfully soft. The fur was an even more gorgeous color up close compared to what I had observed at a distance daily. No signs of any disease or other pathologies. Handsome. Powerful. Vaguely related to multituberculate mammals from a long, long, LONG time ago. Convergent evolution. Similar lifestyles perhaps, just without the theropods and other toothy monsters chasing after it.
We share a common ancestor with the squirrel, whether we wish to or not, and those ancestors speak to us still today in our DNA, although the message is muted. These things we have forgotten, the dragons in our dreams. Maybe cars are scarier than dinosaurs though, at least for squirrels (if not humans). Civilization climax has all kinds of profound implications, you know. Human footsteps on the moon only 3.7 million years after Laetoli...how will we ever outdo ourselves and evolve consciously, spiritually to the next level so that we have some hope of survival?
The future co-creates the past equally as much as the past co-creates the future...and quantum physics proves it: time is not linear. A holographiphic universe that reflects *us*, cyrstallized into reality by our own perception, an illusion of duality created by the nature of choice, and by the very nature of life and death itself. Everything is connected, everything is sacred, and the mundane earthly result is ultimately the same, no matter what we do, but what we do matters more than anything.
In wild and desolute solitude, the silence is deafening. In the heart of wilderness the very bones of the earth are literally exposed, like crystal dragons of the Dreamtime. Dinosaur bone marrow, filled with radiant minerals, emanates an endless half-life. The ephemeral energy lingers. Fossil raindrops lie immortalized on a Jurassic mudflat: a slice of time, cracked and crenulated by golden sunlight that once warmed the shores of the Panthalassa Sea. The universe has memory, yet we forget. Suspended memories, forgotten gods. Fossils provide ghostly proof of drifting continents, of endless life lost, of deepest time and the interconnectedness of all things.
That we are able to perceive the humbling significance of this, that we can sense a glimmer of lost worlds and vanished lives, that in the four dimensional eternity of this holographic universe our bodies are blissfully blessed by the rays of the sun, that we can come to realize that there simply are no coincidences, ever, and then stand for but a moment or two in the light with shadows falling all around: this is the wildest magic of all.
For the only permanent thing is impermanence.
The purpose of life is to love
The purpose of love is to create
The purpose of creation is to heal
The purpose of healing is to become whole
The purpose of wholeness is to complete the circle