Spiritual Life

A squirrel at the church window puts on a thought-provoking side show

Melvin Adams
Melvin Adams

The church squirrel is usually out there in spring, summer, fall and sometimes in winter.

I have a good view of his tree from my pew window. Often I think he is tuning in to the sermon and particularly the hymns.

In summer the squirrel cavorts around and up and down his tree, sometimes jumping up facing one way and coming down facing the other. Sometimes he scampers up and down the conifer like a demented logger. He even jumps from limb to limb like a crazed trapeze artist in a three-ring circus.

The squirrel particularly likes Easter and is observant during the whole service particularly when we go up and place flowers on the cross. I feel like he wants to make an offering to his own tree of life, perhaps an acorn. Maybe he would like to scamper up our tree of life to try to find out where Jesus went.

Sometimes the squirrel has a companion, and I wonder if he is a member of a larger congregation. Do they have their own crosses to bear, their own crucifixions and resurrections? Do they have a theology of trees engraved as patterns of bark?

Do they feel fears, loss, hope and longing? Do they mourn their dead and grieve? Do they think there might be a sort of eternal life where the trees grow forever and the generations of squirrels never end?

We may never know, but maybe we will because the universe is filled with much more improbable things than this.

Once I told the pastor that she had a squirrel or two in her congregation. She said that it had always been her hope to minister to varmints.

Melvin Adams is librarian and resident poet at Northwest United Protestant Church in Richland and a retired scientist. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email lluginbill@tricityherald.com.