I was walking down a tree-lined sidewalk the other day, enjoying a slight respite from the 900 degree summer heat. A flash of gray caught the corner of my eye. A squirrel was zooming down from the upper branches of a tree I was about to pass, as if on a mission. He flew down the tree trunk and then halted abruptly right at my eye level. Instead of hiding like they usually do – we’re talking a majorly scary human accompanied by an even more frightening canine (Ha! Who remembers my fierce dog?) – he positioned himself on the side of the trunk closest to me, leaned out over the sidewalk, and extended his little squirrelly paw toward me as if to shake hands.
Whoa. You’ve gotta be kidding. I stopped. “Well, hello there, ” I said. “Are you the new neighborhood welcoming committee? Or maybe you’re running for mayor?”
I did not shake his hand or ask him to kiss my baby.
But I did immediately observe a rather unusual countenance on his furry mug. Not squirrel-like at all. He looked sorta … goofy. Now I’m not one to make meaningful eye contact with rodents very often, but this one was almost in my face and he just didn’t look right. Something about the crazy gleam in his eyes and the way he kept twitching his tail and waving his little paw like he was trying to hail a taxi.
Then I happened to notice a cluster of purple berries on a branch just over his head. Ah-ha, mulberries. He was hanging out in a mulberry tree.
In case you didn’t know, mulberries are toxic when they’re not fully ripened. Besides an upset stomach and headache, they can cause hallucinations and distortions of reality. That’s in humans. By the looks of this little wild-eyed fella, I had to assume that some of those properties must translate to warm-blooded rodents as well. He was high as a kite.
“Listen, little buddy,” I advised, as he appeared to be getting ready to launch himself onto Yaz’s back and have a rip-roaring fine time on the ensuing miniature bucking bronco, “you need to go back to your nest and sleep it off. And in the future, stay away from this tree.”
A vision of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden flashed through my mind. We don’t know what kind of fruit was on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but I’m guessing it wasn’t mulberries. Or they might’ve made their loincloths out of poison ivy instead of fig leaves.
Okay that’s all I have to say about that (thanks, Forrest). Sorry, but there’s no spiritual takeaway to this story; it’s just a fun story. Unless you can think of one – how about it, BBFs? How would you say my little trippin’ squirrel friend ties in with a biblical truth?