On my early morning run today there were squirrels everywhere, racing around with walnuts clutched in their mouths. Fall is coming and they know it. It’s time to put away food for a winter’s day. There is work to do.
After weeks of drum beat and ballyhoo, 9/11 came and went. Now it is 9/12. What do you do when the sun comes up on the day after the day? That vague feeling invaded my lower back and both my creaky knees as I set off on my run. What is today? Everybody knew what yesterday was, but what is today?
That’s where the squirrels started to get to me. They were just doing their work, taking care of the basics, not asking too many big questions. They didn’t need this day to be “special.” Look, the sun was coming up over Long Island Sound, the air was September clean and a crystalline dew hung on the grass. What more would you need, said a squirrel squatting smack in the middle of the road, to make this day special?
Life is not made of 9/11s, though in our need for diversion we find a thousand ways to gin up meaning and significance that always leave us feeling empty. Life is made up of day after day after day of 9/12s. On the church calendar they are called “Ordinary Time.” This morning, thanks to a dozen squirrels, I saw the beauty of an Ordinary morning, and I ran home tasting strong coffee and hoping only for a chance to do my day’s work.