Squirrels. Cardinals. Bumble Bees. And Me.

CADDYSHACK, Bill Murray, 1980. (c) Warner Bros./ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

It’s difficult to understand how an innocuous  glance out the window could start a cascade of nonsense.  But, it did. And it does.

It’s Tuesday. I’m home on a late evening conference call. I see him through the window in the backyard.  He’s chubby-cheeked, hanging upside down, and clutching the iron cover of the bird feeder.

My call continued. And so did Chubby-Cheeks. The bird feeder is swinging from the pole. He’s shaking the cr*p out of it. And gorging on prime seed intended for goldfinches.  Had I been outside and not two floors up, I would have run the S.O.B. down.

My call continued.  I watched him. And wondered how this creature could manage to raise my ire.  This man, a college educated adult, 210 pounds (and counting)  vs. a foot-long squirrel weighing a pound or two.  There he was. Blissfully feeding. And I’m clenching a pencil between my teeth, tasting graphite on my tongue.

The call ended.  I ran down the stairs and out the door to find that he had vanished. Squirrel 483. DK: O.

Fast forward to Wednesday morning.  I’m heading out the door to walk to the train station.

There he was to my right.  Staring at me from the base of the evergreen tree in the front yard. Beady eyes.  His under carriage dragging on the grass, belly bursting from the bird seed.

I turn away to walk down the drive, promising that I’ll even the score later.  And, to my left is a Red Cardinal, bouncing in the dewy grass on her two feet, scavenging for grub. Red is looking hungry, not finding any seed in the feeder the night before.

I’m 100 feet from the train station and a bumble bee hovers over a flowering plant, peacefully and silently searching for nectar.

I’m waiting for the train.  Are you a Squirrel? Are you a Cardinal? Or are you a Bumble Bee?

And on we go with the rest of the day, the thought never far from consciousness.

I’m walking home from the train station.  Why does the Squirrel agitate you so?

William James would have the answer.  So, would an entire book case of self-help books gathering dust in the basement. Why does the Squirrel agitate you so?

Are you a Squirrel? Are you a Cardinal? Or are you a Bumble Bee?

I finish dinner and head to the basement.  I’m thumbing through the book spines to see if any titles ring a bell.  I’m scanning left to right, from top shelf to bottom. I pass Buddhism. Pass Business Management. Pass Public Speaking. Pass Sales Success.  Pass Millionaire Habits. Pass the Lee Iaccoca and Jack Welch Bios.

And bam, there it is.

I take the book down from the shelf and wipe the dust off the cover.  I sit on the cool basement floor to scan the yellow highlighted passages, detecting the faint smell of the highlighter that marked the pages five years ago.

And the seminal message from Deborah Ford and The Dark Side of the Light Chasers popped from the page as I re-read it:

We see in others what we like and don’t like in ourselves. If we embrace these parts of ourselves we will be able to see others as they, not as we see them through our cloud of projection…we need a mirror to see ourselves. You are my mirror and I am yours.”

Are you a Squirrel? Are you a Cardinal? Or are you a Bumble Bee?


Photo: Bill Murray Caddyshack from Chicago Tribune


  1. Man I can relate to this! Mostly with people though, how some can just get under my skin and I don’t why and I think about how they bug me and wonder why they bug me all day long. Arg! ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Embracing your shadow. My aunt was my pen pal for almost 3 decades, as we moved around the U.S. We met up in person in the fall of 2000 in the Pocono’s. Weeks later, she sends me Debbie Ford’s book, with a note “Read it, we’ll talk”. At first, I was offended, in full denial. Then I read it again . She was right , and we did talk. It is a life-changing read. Thanks for the reminder, David. ☺

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Perhaps at different times, we are all of these…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There are positives and negatives about each one of these creatures. What we choose to like or dislike/ignore or accept is quite thought provoking. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey, DK….I thought the posts lighten up as we get to the end of the week? What’s with the philosophy and contemplation? I guess I’ll have to wait for the 5:00 bell.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.’ – Mohammed Ali

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “I’m a tiger when I want love. I’m a snake if we disagree.” Ian Anderson

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As I am reading this, I am watching a squirrel make its way toward my feeder. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I recall a similar passage from another book that containes many books: “Remove the beam from your own eye, then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That is a big question. The cloud of projection tends to be multi-faceted. The answer could be any of the three. And all of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful is he who recognizes what is truly beautiful, even if the surface is ugly. Suzy Kassem. Love this post, maybe the squirrel has come to give you a message!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Just got this for you. A visit from Squirrel could indicate that you need lighten your load of things that are unnecessary. Things that you have gathered in the past and may be cluttering your life such as thoughts, worries, and stresses. Ha how appropriate 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It’s true…and you need to just…go with the flow…find what is beautiful. The fact that I have a pet bunny now probably makes you grimace, I’m sure…but it’s amazing to me how much happiness can be found in the innocence of beings around us.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: