Five years have passed since I was attacked by a hawk. I have learned a lot about trauma since then. That it is not so much time that heals, but love – from myself, my family, kindhearted friends, and when I was finally ready, from the one who kissed my wounds. Also, that healing is painful. We’re talking flashbacks, numbness and hypervigilance. There are days I’ll be hopping through the forest, when I am suddenly scared out of my wits by a shadow, run home to my oak tree and hide trembling in a corner of the trunk, enveloped by the darkness of piercing memories. I can hear the raccoons playing outside, inviting me for a game of acorn spinning – as I lie under a blanket of leaves and try to breathe. It is difficult sometimes to open up about what is going on and let others in, because trust is one of the things that I lost in the incident. But I have also learned that I am stronger for it. The wound is the place where the light enters you. And with every step my light is getting brighter.
A year later I found myself at another crossroads. Before I could decide to go to left or right, I had an accident. Somebody BOUNCED me off my feet! I found myself beneath the leaves again. With all this time on my hands, I read The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling. The book is about the question “What is it, in my squirrel heart, that I must do, be, and have? And why?” To answer this, the acorn theory is presented. It’s the idea that each life is formed by a particular image. Just like the oak’s destiny is written in the acorn, your destiny is written too. Besides genetics and the environment, everyone is also given a character upon birth. The theory refers to Plato’s idea of a ‘daimon’ (a nature spirit who cares about you). You might call it your guardian angel. Even what seems like an accident belongs to the pattern of the image and helps fulfill it. It reflects the blueprint that gives direction to your life. You may postpone your calling, but eventually the daimon will make its claim.
Diary of a wounded squirrel
In The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle Hugh Lofting tells how 9-year-old Tommy Stubbins met Doctor Dolittle. It all started when Tommy came across a hawk on a rock with a squirrel in his claws. The hawk is so startled that he drops the squirrel and flies off. When Tommy picks the squirrel up, he sees that the squirrel’s legs are badly hurt. He carries the squirrel to Puddleby-on-the-Marsh to find someone who can help. His friends advise him to go see the famous animal doctor, John Dolittle, who has the extraordinary gift of speaking the animals’ language. Doctor Dolittle is away on a voyage, so Tommy has to wait for the doctor’s return. When he finally meets Doctor Dolittle, they visit Tommy’s home to take a look at the squirrel. After having talked to the squirrel, Doctor Dolittle ties the broken leg up with matchsticks and prescribes two weeks of bed rest under dry leaves, which is difficult for squirrels as they are very active and cheerful creatures. I am the squirrel and this is my diary.
I’ve always been fascinated with urban foxes. On occassion I’ve seen them whilst cycling late at night. It always leaves me breathless. A fox in a metropolis! Being brought up in the countryside, I find it hard to believe. I saw one in our garden once, but (s)he vanished in the blink of an eye. About a month ago, I spotted one in my neighbour’s garden. I tried to take a photograph, but didn’t have much luck.
1. Cultivate your love of furry creatures
2. Go to a squirrel habitat (preferably grey squirrels as they are less shy)
3. Walk around till you spot a squirrel (usually up in a tree)
4. Stand underneath the tree till she notices you
5. If she does not find you that interesting, convey that you’ve brought peanuts
6. Get down on your knees till she comes down (at a fair distance from the tree)
7. Lay down some peanuts in the space between you and her
8. Watch her eat them in peace
9. Repeat steps 7-8 until you have earned her trust (putting her paws on you is a good sign)
10. Slowly lean down on all fours and start snapping away
Some extra tips:
– avoid putting peanuts on your palm as she might mistake your fingertip for a peanut, which might be painful and lead to a re-do of step 1
– when you see a dog, stand up immediately, warn her so she can run up the tree, wait till her life is no longer in danger and repeat steps 6 till 10
– try to shoo away pigeons, crows and men who want some peanuts or a date.