Success and a Squirrel

Squirrel Comic

After wavering all day on whether or not Bikram class was in my stars tonight, I pulled it together and went. I can’t tell you how proud I am of overcoming my lazy self to go forth and conquer. In fact, even though I was sleepy on the way to class, and the first few minutes in the hot room were uncomfortable, by the time I made it to Eagle pose I was good to go and really enjoying the routine. By the time the standing series was over, the class felt breezy and cool, something that only happens for me when I’m calm and centered. I even felt myself slipping into a meditative state when I sat out half of Triangle (it’s the toughest in the standing series, and a real struggle for me still).

‘Yeah,’ you’re saying, ‘but what about the squirrel?’ I’m getting around to that part.

When I was looking for a parking spot before class, I lost my temper trying to back into a spot and gave up, speeding down the street a bit. It was stupid, and I was immediately ashamed of being such a twit. Not much further down the street, I found a suitable parking spot and pulled over, then walked back up the street towards the studio with my bag and mat. The neighborhood around my studio is gorgeous – lots of 3 flat brownstones, carefully planted flowerbeds, and trees galore. I was walking down one of these lovely, shaded sidewalks when I spied a squirrel running around about a quarter of a block away. There are tons of squirrels in Chicago, but what caught my eye was that this one was a sleek, shiny black squirrel with a skinny tail. Black squirrels do show up in the city, but they’re rare, and this one didn’t even look like your typical black squirrel. He looked like a miniature panther, if miniature panthers stood on their hind legs and nibbled sticks.

I wanted to see this little guy closer, so I walked slowly and quietly up, thinking that he might stand still for a minute if I didn’t alarm him. He looked up as I approached, and to my surprise he dropped the stick he was nibbling and started walking towards me. Now, I think that squirrels are adorable, but I still harbor a not-so-irrelevant fear of being attacked by a screeching rodent with great climbing abilities, so I took a step back, still not wanting to startle him in case he turned out to be evil. He stepped closer. I froze. He was gorgeous – very glossy, healthy looking coat, and beady little button eyes that stared up at me with great intensity. He stood up on his hind legs, and very deliberately looked me over from head to toe, twice. Then with a little snort, he turned and ambled away, back to me, not the least bit afraid.

It’s only logical to conclude that he was looking me over for food, and accustomed to being fed by kind humans, hence the lack of alarm. However, in that moment, all I could think about was being inspected and judged on my actions during the day. Sure, I conquered my laziness in some ways, but in other ways I let it run rampant. I reached a state of calm, but not before I freaked out and screamed at an inanimate parking space, two parked cars and the unfortunate driver behind me who was blocked in by my inadequate parallel parking skills. In that moment, I felt like God had sent a squirrel as his messenger, to tell me that I had been examined, and found wanting. That’s a lot to get from a chance encounter with a clever little black squirrel, but the Universe works in mysterious ways, and sometimes your imagination plays a pivotal role in saving you from yourself.

So here’s to squirrelly spirit guides, and hope the little bugger doesn’t get kicked by the next person he walks up to.

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