Thursday, September 12, 2019

Dialogue with a Squirrel

The Art Institute of Chicago started as a storehouse for plaster casts to support the students‘ need to draw Greek and Roman statues. Eventually, it became a museum of art. I’ve been thinking about training and my long rejection of the idea. And then I met up with a verse on the training of an elephant in ancient India, and misread the verse, thinking they had the same problem with training that I did.

Yesterday I had a little thing going with a squirrel. He was trying to stay cool by laying his belly on a branch of a tree in the shade. I watched him, and he watched me, and eventually, he went back to work, scavenging pecans from our not too fruitful pecan tree, and I going in the house to get more garbage for trash collection day tomorrow.


Squirrels seem to have been well designed. Their natural instincts seem to work. Animals seem to share that quality of being authentic and functional. They don’t need the training to accomplish their higher needs unless they become domesticated.

Elephants do well without us. But when we want to ride them we have to tame them. I’m not sure that they become happier and more fulfilled. I’ll have to ask my elephant friends.

It seems that humans need a lot more work. Our natural instincts get us in all kinds of trouble,  We pass the fridge and eat more than we need for energy. We get infatuated and our life goes astray. We sit on a meditation cushion and drift off into Lala land. Why? Why can’t we just follow our instincts?

We train and train. All of us are doing one ironman or ironwoman after another. I had looked forward to retirement so I could stop trying so hard. I thought I could just be me, and follow every whim. Little did I know I’d have to face one boot camp after another.

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