Squirrels of Inspiration

It’s morning and the October sky is subdued, the early sun obscured by a veil of haze. The house is quiet. I’m alone. The rascally pine squirrel that John trapped last week and set free near a pond three miles away is back – burying pine cones in my flower boxes, carrying pilfered insulation from the crawl space beneath the house to his nest in a nearby ponderosa. Tufts of insulation peak out from uninhabited bird boxes. He’s creative in his choice of winter larders. At dusk, he’ll retreat to curl up in his drey, nose tucked to tail. At dawn, he’ll be back at it again.

Some of the graduate students at the university taking my “Writing Life” class this fall quarter have been discussing what time of the day they’re most creative—dusk or dawn, or late into the midnight hours. For me, like for the squirrel, creativity comes early, like dewdrops on the leaves of a bleeding-heart. Morning hours are hopeful hours, when no idea seems too insignificant, no inspiration too frivolous, no seed of an idea too small.

All summer, I’ve watched the squirrel run back and forth along the top rail of our old wooden fence in the morning, tufts of insulation or sprigs of juniper berries in his mouth. He’s gnawed down my garden’s penstemons and foxglove, blanket flowers and columbines. John offered to trap him again. “Turn him loose in the next county,” I joked. But we won’t. Winter will arrive here on the mountain soon, and I admire how he’s lined his nests. And though I haven’t found it, I also know that somewhere nearby is a well-stocked midden.  Who am I to rob him of these hoarded treasures?

It’s evening now. The sun cast the ponderosas into dark silhouettes before dropping behind the mountains. I wonder if when I wake in the morning, perhaps even at dawn before the squirrel has roused himself from his nest, if hope will come again in the shape of new stories. Will the dreams I've stored in my subconscious serve as fodder for the new day? What creature of the night will leave dewdrops to quench this early morning yearning?

Definition Postscript:
creature (n.)  late 13c., "anything created," also "living being," from Old French creature (Modern French créature), from Late Latin creatura "thing created," from creatus, past participle of Latin creare "create" (see create). 

create (v.)  late 14c., from Latin creatus, past participle of creare "to make, bring forth, produce, beget," related to crescere "arise, grow" (see crescent). Related: Created; creating.


Heloise Jones said…
Beautiful post. The tone feels like winter coming on. That hip season of preparation.
Very lovely post with beautiful images. I, too, am a morning creative. I set my clock to get up early and write. Thank you for these few moments enjoying your blog.
Anonymous said…
Amazing Page. Brings me back to our river trip.....Go team squirrel!

Popular posts from this blog

The Light Shines from the West: Lifting the Veil of History