Writing Lesson From a Squirrel

Sometimes, little bits of wisdom come from unexpected sources, that is, if we observe and listen.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting outside eating peanuts while I talked on the phone with my aunt. I noticed a squirrel looking at me and getting close. I threw a peanut on the ground and it came running towards it. The squirrel took the peanut and ran with it, not too far, and then, I saw the squirrel bury the peanut. Right away, it came back for more. This time I threw a few peanuts to the ground. The squirrel became excited running from peanut to peanut, and grabbed one. It ran to a different spot and buried the peanut.  The squirrel repeated this process, and I added a few more peanuts to the pile. I noticed a Blue Jay bird following the squirrel and squawking loud. The squirrel ignored the bird and kept busy, running back and forth, until she buried all but two peanuts. When it returned for the last two, the squirrel climbed on a garden bench and slowly ate them. That was when the epiphany hit. This is what I learned.

The squirrel did not know about instant gratification. It worked hard saving the peanuts for the future, and ate only what it needed for the moment, enjoying it after a laborious effort, and from the bounty that it encountered that day. Although the Blue Jay bird was loud and annoying, it totally disregard its presence, and kept going back and forth until the job was done. Think of the Blue Jay as a symbol of obstacles and the negative influences in our path. You can apply this lesson to your daily living, finances, goal setting, and life in general; however, I applied it to writing. Many times, as writers we will have to work hard, put many books out, and work for peanuts, to be able to appreciate the rewards later. We may meet many Blue Jays in our path, sometimes naysayers or loud squawkers who will try to derail us from the main purpose, but we must ignore them and keep working hard to complete the job, and enjoy its rewards when we are ready.

You might be thinking that the squirrel only ate two peanuts and saved the rest. But let me tell you that after it ate those two peanuts, I deposited a whole bunch of peanuts on the ground, and the process started all over again. In the end, not only its efforts paid – it ate, it had a future source of food, and a whole new pile of peanuts to work on saving – the benefits compounded. I am sure that it will be very happy for some time.

Write, write, write, ignore the naysayers, work through the obstacles, and keep working towards the goal; in the end, your efforts will produce rewards, and the rewards will compound. I learned that from a busy squirrel in my garden.

photo by M.A.D.

photo by M.A.D.