Squirrel Reflections

There are three small dead squirrels lying on the sidewalk around the corner from my house. Actually one looks really dead and the other two are breathing but we can tell that dead is where they’re heading. My housemate is an obsessive lover of animals; I’m afraid she’ll come out walking the dog and want to save the squirrels or see them and freak out.

I think about the latest environmental bellweather about bees dying; are now squirrels falling out of trees? They are clearly baby squirrels, which I have never seen before, like where do baby squirrels live until they are large enough to shimmy up my bird feeders or eat all the tomatoes from the garden or hurl themselves against the window when I have suet out in the winter?

The woman I’m walking with who is young, pansexual and wearing a nose ring says we need to kill them, which I am sure I am not prepared to do so I go up to the neighbors house and Clyde is home and he comes out to look and the first thing he says is he’ll kill them and take care of it which is interesting to me in that “would every guy say that straightaway”? Definitely not the first place I went. And then he reminds me that they may be babies without a mother and I remember that he has been trapping squirrels and letting them go at the Chart House, an upscale restaurant with a view up the road from our house.

I didn’t want to linger. And I do. The sense one gets driving by an accident. You feel compelled to look, to slow down, yet one knows it’s in bad taste. So now we say we’re sending a little prayer, or a blessing or mantra when we slow down, but really, isn’t there some part that’s just drawn to witness the suffering of others? Could there be any other purpose for reality TV, or people intentionally going on a talk show knowing that what will be revealed is that their partner is sleeping with their mother/daughter/brother/best friend.

On the way home from my walk, the squirrels have been removed. I didn’t stop to ask him how he killed them or what he did with their bodies. I try to see them in my mind. Three little bodies, soft downy fur, little tails, a failing, rapid heartbeat in one, one very still. They looked as if they had dropped, fallen, from the large tree overhead. In that moment, I knew, it came through clearly in my mind. He had trapped their mother. And taken her to the upscale restaurant and let her loose. She may have been going for food for the babies when she was trapped. She may be making her way home from the upscale restaurant up the street, in this moment, eager to show her babies the new food source. And she will find them gone.

*A postscript to this piece. Just received a text from my housemate that she saw a deer munching vegetables in our neighbor’s yard. We live on a busy street in a large city, though across from a wooded park. I had suspected a deer, yet had never seen one. It did seem unlikely that a squirrel was eating whole apples or tomatoes, and eating entire plants off at their stem

What conclusions do you make from all this? That the squirrels died needlessly? That this is what happens when we fuck with nature? Or, from a tantric orientation, my teacher reminds us to do our best to actually experience the equality of all phenomena, that perfection underlies everything. A tall order for we humans who enjoy classifying experience as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

On Paying Attention

Am I? Are you? Really? I’ve been guilty of speed reading recipes. Something goes in the oven and I realize I’ve skimmed over some essential ingredient. Or reading an email from a lover and missing the whole context of the note until I reread, after spending countless hours on some fixated emotional firestorm that ate up all the space in my body. Reminded again this morning after reading a piece from this too prolific blog poster (can you tell I’m envious, even jealous), Jen Pastiloff. In the past week she reposted a devastatingly intense piece from a woman who struggles with an addiction to Kloponin, which moved her to repost an earlier piece detailing  Jen’s work with clients at a rehab facility and an ectopic pregnancy that she went through. In short order she received responses with grave concern about HER addiction, that SHE was a client in rehab and congratulations on her pregnancy without looking up that an ectopic pregnancy is never viable or even what that is.

Anymore emails I’ve sent are often never read; if I want someone to respond to me I need to text them. As much as I love to read, I find myself trying to read the New York Times in sound bites, along with three separate books on my nightstand. I guess what this is a message to myself. To slow down and pay attention.

Years ago I was at a retreat in Hawaii and I seriously tore a ligament in my hip attempting  to execute a split. (I think I was trying to show off). My friends took me to an acupuncturist and as I was lying on his table macerating with needles in me, his phone rang and he took an appointment. I noticed he didn’t write it down. Questioning him about this, he responded “if I can’t keep it my head, I know I’m doing too much”. Anymore I notice no one attempting to keep anything in their head. I don’t need to remember phone numbers anymore. I can schedule as many appointments, meetings, errands from different streams of my life and have a sound remind me, that is if I’ve even remembered to enter it. Or post it to the correct calendar.
If you read this, are you willing to help me with this? Call my attention to checking my phone if I’m talking with you. If my attention wavers with you, nail me. It’s a short life. I don’t want to miss any part of it.

Cultivating happy relationships and finding dishsoap….

I was interviewed by a very sweet man and woman who are in the process of a launching a six week tele-class. If you’ve read some of my earlier writings, you may know that I have somewhat of an aversion to the proliferation of tele-classes. And while I respect anyone that gets it together to sincerely put their message in the world, there’s just, well, so much out there. It’s like going to the grocery store in the U.S. Case in point. I went to get dishwashing liquid a few weeks ago and the number of choices amid the different types of soap were staggering. Not wanting to linger, I grabbed one that had the key phrase ‘eco’ on it. So now my whole household had been complaining “this smells like bleach. No, really, it smells like bleach”. Finally, I look at the label and it does indeed contain bleach, AND it is for the dishwasher, AND it will fuck up your hands if you use it for handwashing, which we all have been doing and I’m wondering why my hands are so fucked up. Now I realize I have culpability. I should have read the label. But I was quite frankly inundated. I just wanted the darn dishsoap. Which is my way of saying, in the world of dish soap and telec-lasses, there is soooooo much out there, how does one choose? What criteria exists? And tele-classes aren’t cheap. For men and women who feel some sort of desperation or frustration around their personal and sexual issues, dropping $400 to way, way more cash in the hopes of – pick one: [Read more...]


There is a profound little book, “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. This book delineates that Resistance is the true enemy of ALL artists, writers, entrepreneurs and spiritual seekers. All of us who ‘want’ to start doing yoga, lose weight, leave a relationship, leave a job or commit to any political, moral or ethical endeavor, or change for the better some unworthy thought pattern or conduct in ourselves. This morning, I have: watered the plants, made broccoli parmesan, pulled some weeds, got grouchy at my partner for not following through on a personal commitment that had nothing to do with me, put dishes away, waxed eloquent about ‘other’ peoples lives and what they could be doing, and read emails. I’m sure there’s more. All this in the spirit of resistance. To forestall sitting at this blank page, any blank page, to deepen my path and commit to writing. To dive into what is the expression of my personal voice, to bring forth the genius in me, the genius that is in each of us. [Read more...]