I’ve decided that if these woodland creatures have any concept of a higher power, it is probably similar to that of many Christians. That holds especially true of the squirrels. Knowing that we have so many animals living right next to our house, we often toss bits of fruits or vegetables or breads up on the hillside, instead of throwing them away. When our Halloween pumpkins are done, we toss them on the hill; if grapes, apples or oranges start to spoil, they get tossed on the hill. Stale cookies or bread, up they go to the hill. And in a very short while, you’ll see the squirrels appear from everywhere, gathering food as quickly as it was tossed on the hillside.
There’s one other thing that ends up on the hillside – dog poop. We have two dogs, a Black Lab and a small dog of indeterminate breeding. They generate the usual amount of dog poop and, having grown up in farm country in the Midwest, I tend to just scoop it up out of the yard and toss it back into nature – right there on the hillside. So I imagine that the squirrels must think there is some deity out there, sometimes tossing gifts of fruit and vegetables and at other times, throwing some poop into their lives. Do they wonder what they’ve done to deserve either? Do the squirrels wonder what they’ve done wrong when the poop starts to fly? Do they reflect on what they could have done better so that the “God of the hillside” wouldn’t poop on them? When the fruit and vegetables come raining down, do they congratulate themselves, thinking they’ve finally lived the kind
of “squirrel life” they were supposed to?
Or maybe the squirrels say to themselves, “Well, I don’t know where this poop is coming from, but it must be part of God’s plan for us. The poop is being thrown at us to test us. God surely won’t give us more poop than we can handle.” Does any of this sound familiar? I’m really not making fun of people’s faith, but I do have to wonder what we base some of our beliefs on – maybe nothing more than some random instances of gifts and poop. After all, sometimes “poop” happens – all on its own, not God-sent.