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  • Writer's pictureJH

Be the squirrel

September 9, 2018

I haven’t posted on the blog in a while. I’ve been off in eastern Canada being a drummer with Sarah Smith, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention to other things. In fact, drumming and spirituality (or whatever it is I’m writing on here) go hand in hand for me. It’s all part of the dream. Part of the journey.

The other day we had some time to kill at our hotel just outside Frederiction. It was a sunny day, so I went outside in search of … well, whatever I could find. The hotel is in the outskirts, so as walking goes, there weren’t really many options. I stepped through the hotel door and, finding no roads to travel, wandered across the parking lot into the brush beside the highway. I was climbing up a little hill and noticed a majestic, magnificent old tree standing tall and proud against the horizon. I felt a nudge to go talk to it.

I’ve written before about the wisdom of trees.

It’s powerful.

My experience of trees so far is that they point to wisdom, rather than present wisdom. This old fellow wanted me to look beyond him, into a secluded little valley, where I saw a squirrel dart along a fallen trunk and climb up – way up – to his nest in another tree. A few seconds later the squirrel came back down the tree, across the fallen trunk, and into the bush. A minute later he returned and skittered back across the trunk, up to his nest.

And then back down.

And then back up.

And then back down.

And then back up.

Etc., etc.

I watched him for probably fifteen minutes, mesmerized by his pace. His industry. Up and down, up and down, up and down. He was running the whole time. Not sprinting, not labouring, not panicked. Just running. He was working, and I think that was the lesson the tree wanted me to consider.

I’m still searching. I’m still trying to find my way as a musician and writer and whatever else I’m here to be and do. I still live way too much in my head, but the illustration of the squirrel reminded me that all I can do is work and let go. The way forward is to simply do what I was meant to do. To get up in the morning, run up and down that tree, and gather my equivalent of whatever the squirrel was gathering. And then trust that I can build the life I was meant to live the same way he is building his.

Like the caterpillar in my other tree post, the squirrel doesn’t think about his purpose. He follows his instinct. He just does what he’s supposed to do, moment by moment, day by day. We humans waste a lot of time and energy with our projections and fears and doubts and thinking. I do, anyway. And we make ourselves miserable doing anything but running up and down the tree, gathering our dreams.

I’m somewhere else in New Brunswick now, trying to absorb that lesson. I write about this sort of thing a lot, but writing it and living it are two different things. I’m trying to apply the lessons these days. My future is uncertain. I don’t know where the roads will lead, but it’s not my job to know right now. It’s my job to run up and down my tree – to play today’s show, to do my work, to write this blog post. It’s my job to do the things that come naturally to me and that I do well. It's my job to keep working and trust that the work will create the life I want.

That’s your job, too.

Do the work. Find room for what’s actually yours and do it. Be diligent. Be present.

Be the squirrel.

And when in doubt, ask a tree.


Some of you may not know that this website was originally created to host what became the Sarah Smith Euro tour blog. I'm delighted to tell you that Version 2.0 of that blog will launch very soon. The band returns to Europe on September 18. Check in daily for new posts as we travel around Europe, being a band on the road!

#Perspective #Lettinggo #Patience #Encouragement

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