Prayer Wheel

I look up and there is a squirrel running through the grass, something large in her mouth. She runs up a tree with her burden, leaving me with only the impression of what she was carrying (a bagel? surely not). I have a better suspicion, and so I watch her hang on that tree, descend, ascend another, hang again with flipping tail, descend again. She runs across the front yard, then darts back. She is chasing another squirrel, viciously. The chastised squirrel lies low in the grass, at the very back of the yard.

She returns to the front yard, passing by my window, and climbs a tree in the neighbor’s yard. She descends, and in her mouth is a pup.

The pup is large – larger than the head of the squirrel who carries it – thinly furred, blind, and clearly helpless. The thin tail and gangly limbs flex and dangle as the mother bounds through the grass. She makes it halfway to the new tree before the slowly wriggling burden becomes difficult to manage.

She sets her infant down in the grass, and rolls it around in her hands, seeking a better grip. She nuzzles it from all angles, rediscovers the place at the back of the neck, grips it anew, and climbs her tree.

My mind is filled with the image of squirrel paws rolling her bagel-like young around and around and around, a rodent’s prayer wheel, spinning out her hopes for the future, to be grasped firmly with hands and jaws.

Prayer Wheel


Joined February 2008

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