Today I’m seeing symbolism in the lives of squirrels. Yes, squirrels. They have double-meaning for me. In Denver, we have many squirrels and in Denver there are two types of people; those who think squirrels are cute, and those who think squirrels are rats with furry tails. We are the former.

We actually (secretly) put out food for the squirrels that skillfully use our wooden fence as a balance beam, scoot across to the front yard, where they successfully strip our oak tree from all acorns, and take a bite out of each green apple and throw them down to the ground. They seem to be incapable of waiting until they are ripe. We’d gladly share.

The other meaning, aside from the literal meaning of a squirrel (cute animal or rat with furry tail), is that to “squirrel” is to divert from the intended path, to fail to sit with butt in chair and work on whatever project I’ve set some liquid goal for myself. I’m expert at “squirreling”, which is really just a rat with furry tail way of saying “procrastinating.” I even have a sticky note on my bulletin board instructing, “No Squirrels.”

Which brings me to the sunflowers. I’ve grown some giant zebra stripe sunflowers this year, which grew to astronomical heights (above our house roof). I eagerly watched the flower buds begin to grow, and they promised to be over a foot in diameter. However, now when I go check them in the morning, the flowers are missing, taken most likely by a squirrel.

If only they knew that if they waited, the payoff would be much greater for both of us; i could have a beautiful flower to look at and they could have a large sunflower with hundreds of seeds.

Nature provides us with lessons of patience and procrastination.