Creative Corner: Fuzzy Future


Taylor Rupp, Columnist

There once was a little squirrel who didn’t quite know what to want from the world. Living in the oak tree, tall and sturdy, with all the other squirrels, who’d scurry about knowing their own route, the little squirrel felt nothing but doubt.

“How do I know where am I to go?” the little squirrel asked.

“Why, little squirrel,” said little squirrel’s mother, “Work at the top of the tree. That seems the best place to me. Help the squirrels up there knock the acorns down from the canopy. The job with the best view is certainly most suited to you. You’ll be far from the ground where predators abound. Safety is key, and you’ll never have to leave me.”

The little squirrel took mom’s advice and climbed to the top of the tree without thinking twice. When little squirrel reached the top, on the branch was little squirrel’s pop. “Hello, father,” greeted the little squirrel, “Mother suggested I help in the canopy, if it’s not a bother.”

“Not at all,” said little squirrel’s father, “You just need to make the acorns fall.” Little squirrel’s father stood up tall and pushed an acorn around until the branch snapped, and it fell to the ground. The little squirrel frowned trying to knock down an acorn, but it wouldn’t snap, leaving little squirrel forlorn.

The father laughed, “Don’t worry. That’s where they all begin. You just happen to be a bit too thin. You should try your paw at scaling the tree, just like your ma. And make sure not to work at the tree’s base, or it’ll be a boring life you’ll face. Among the leaves of decay, you’ll let your life waste away. If, after some strain, more strength you gain, come back here, so you can always be near.”

The little squirrel scurried down the tree, already worried that this was not meant to be. The little squirrel came across his brother who stopped to speak, instead of the little squirrel’s mother. “Hello, little squirrel. Why don’t you talk to me while mother is busy?”

“Hello, brother,” little squirrel greeted. “I want to help, but I’m not sure I can run as fast as is needed.”

“Don’t worry, little squirrel. You can give this a try. We clean the tree so it doesn’t become a sty. We thank the tree for being our house by keeping it free of every louse. We clean the tree up, down, and around, making sure to drop the waste on the ground. Watch mother clean and see what you can glean.”

The little squirrel nodded and the two squirrels watched their mother and applauded. She gathered debris and rid it from the tree into the piles of decaying leaves before weaving back up to a different branch. The little squirrel, still unsure, gathered some trash and started to dash for the bottom of the Oak. Unfortunately, the little squirrel tripped and suddenly dipped down into the pile of debris at the bottom of the tree.

The little squirrel’s brother chuckled at little squirrel all covered in muck. “Don’t worry, you just need to be quicker than that. Right now, you’re just a little too fat. Go run and run and run until you’re faster than everyone. Then maybe you can be of use to the tree.”

The little squirrel, not feeling worth much, shook off all the leaves and such. Then a squirrel came by and told little squirrel, “Hi! Would you like to help us on the ground? We take acorns all around and bury them where they can be found. It’s okay if you can’t remember them all, because by next fall, there will be a tiny oak that will start to poke up from the dirt giving us more places to live and work.”

“Sure. I’ll help!” little squirrel exclaimed, grabbed a seed, and hopped along following no squirrel’s lead. There was a nice spot where it was neither too cold nor too hot where the little squirrel dug and buried the seed. On the way back to the tree the little squirrel had never felt so free. The ground was alive with animals and plants so lush little squirrel could not help feeling a rush. “This is where I want to be. Yes, certainly the ground is for me.”

The little squirrel’s family came to see where little squirrel wanted to go, and when told that it was the ground, they wanted to say “no.” Insistent that the ground was right, little squirrel went and dug with all his might. The little squirrel’s parents frowned, but agreed that little squirrel was the best digger around.

Even though little squirrel’s parents weren’t pleased, little squirrel adjusted to the new job with ease. The little squirrel was finally happy and full of worth, for little squirrel knew he was helping both the squirrels and the Earth.

The little squirrel was inspired by the stories of people who have family or friends who try to direct their lives. Do what you enjoy—what makes you feel satisfied. Try not to let others dissuade you from your path. Life, including the length of time one person is alive, is uncertain; make the most of the time you have by doing what you want to do.