I was sitting outside yesterday, just sort of watching the day go by. The temperatures were finally feeling spring-like (in the mid 60’s and sunny), so I was sitting on the back porch in the late afternoon reading my book, my dog curled up at my feet. I looked up between chapters and let my eyes gaze over the back lawn. I noticed the sun streaming across the yard in large bold stripes, the buds starting to open up on the tips of the trees, the yard filled with branches (I will need to clean those up this week, but not now.), and the daffodils and tulips pushing out of the warming ground. That’s when I noticed him (or her – not sure how to tell). A little red squirrel. Yes, red! Almost the color of a red fox. I’ve seen black squirrels in town, and of course the usual gray ones, but never a red squirrel. He (or she) skittered here and there, up trees, over branches, across wires, and then he was gone.
This is what I love about vacation days. Noticing. Looking. Taking it all in. On a normal day, I never would have noticed the red squirrel. I wake up early, run around getting dressed and ready for the day, and head off for the long drive to work. By the time I get home, there are so many things to do and complete before getting to bed early to prepare for another day of work. Even the weekends feel too busy. They are always fun, but they are busy. In the book I was reading on the porch (Amy Rosenthal’s The Encyclopedia of An Ordinary Life), she says that the typical response in America to, “How are you?” is, “Busy!” Why are we so busy? And why are we so proud of being so busy? I want to find more time to sit and relax and enjoy the red squirrel.