Writer: Ilano, Ambrose M.
Allow me to introduce you to Sciurus carolinensis, commonly known to most of us as “squirrel,” specifically, one Eastern gray squirrel (but in the right light, they do appear just a little on the brown side). Our lovable creature can be found native throughout the Eastern United States–but we’re losing focus. You see, on our most studious campus, scurrying around in circles through the grounds, is our protagonist.
Allow me to direct your attention to a particular squirrel I’ve named Carl. Yes, laugh. I did indeed in my free time sit and then follow one skittish, frantic, nervous, wreck of a woman who in turn lead me to the squirrel I would come to know as Carl. The two seemed very similar in temperament, so I decided to trail the tail.
If you happened to be on campus last Saturday and saw a strange skinny male with sunglasses and a tye-dye shirt following you from the bushes, well, that wasn’t me and I think you should notify campus security.
Did you know that there is a national squirrel appreciation day? We just missed it on the 21st of January; we should turn back our calendars to mark the occasion. Countless trees on our Mother Earth’s bosom owe their birth to this humble little hero. A hero who unknowingly acts on instinct to plant oxygen-giving trees for the entire world’s benefit. All too often the squirrel does this job thanklessly–because the rest of existence is too wrapped up in its own concerns to address the heroics of this small mammal.
Imagine, if you will, that you are a steward of the Earth, diligently and unintentionally carrying out life-giving work bestowed upon you by the lottery of common genetics–but humans see you as nothing more than a tree-rat. Don’t take on any guilt as a result of my ramblings; I don’t think Carl minds. He spent most of the day running in capricious circles to his own hypnotic melody.
The hyperactive nature of Carl really made me wonder about his life. How many of our own pine trees on South Campus were planted due to Carl or his family? Was he an only child, or were there siblings? I’ve resigned myself to ignorance; I’ll never know. I mention all this only because I’ve come to realize that change is fickle–and often requires a delicate touch. Indeed, sometimes the best way to affect change is to stay out of its way.
Photographers are especially aware of the merits of non-intervention. The best photographs are candid, and prearranged shoots can bring out the actor or actress in anyone. In these instances, you’ll find the photographer behind the scenes, skillfully directing the space with subtlety and discretion–barely noticeable at all.
In this aspect the squirrel is the most heroic of all the creatures. For even he does not know of the many wonders brought to fruition because of his simple and repetitive actions. May we all strive tomorrow and the next day to be a little more inconspicuous, a little more discrete, in the smiles that we can bring to the people we are forever forced to inhabit this world with.