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Saturday, July 22, 2017

E(A)RNEST SQUIRREL AGAIN

I had not seen my little furry friend for quite some time and was glad to run across him in the woody end of our yard.


"Hello!" I said, "What have you been up to?"

"Hello yourself! I have been getting my education but am making poor progress."

"But you're such a bright, chipper thing. Surely you're not in earnest!"

"Careful how you spell that, human."

"Of course, Ernest. What seems to be the problem?"

"It's this heat, Geo., this "summer" thing. It gets to my brain and I can't remember where I buried my nuts."

"Understandable, Ernest, hot weather affects us all. It sends my blood circulation to all sorts of irrelevant places." 

"Yes, but you're over 100 times my age. I'm a young adult squirrel and you're a bag of mad old bones."

"Now, now, settle down. You've left the wisdom of your elders out of your calculations."

"I'm trying to remember where I buried my nuts, Geo. What does your vast experience have to offer?"

"Beyond a particularly disgusting old sea shanty, nothing. However, age brings contemplation of enigmas --important and difficult questions like..."

"Like what, Geo.? What's going through your heat-and-age-addled mind now?"

"Well, Ernest, I was just wondering how spiritual life might change if all the different religions of the world succeeded in converting each other at once." 

"Hmmm."


"Ernest? Ernest, where are you skulking off to?"

"Geo., I believe I just recalled where my nuts are."

Well! Everybody's got to believe something but I suspect he's just avoiding me until autumn.

39 comments:

  1. There's lots of nuts oudt there and you don't need a squirrel to find them lol.

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    1. Indeed, Delores, but it can't hurt --in fact, without Ernest I wouldn't have suspected I was nuts.

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  2. I can identify with feeling like a mad old bag of bones. And the heat seems to be infiltrating even the "cooler" states. It's BROILING here. After four dry days in a row (an extreme rarity for TN) I'm actually praying for rain.

    If Ernest is looking for nuts, he doesn't have to any farther than the Internet.
    (excluding you and I, of course)

    I'll insert a *smile* here, just so I don't attract any more Internet enemies than I already have....

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    1. Excluding us, of course Jon. We're not nuts. I know you've had troubles with contentious comments and I hope comment moderation proves a sufficient ward. Blogging should be pleasurable. And I hope both our prayers for rain are answered.

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  3. E(a)rnest needs to find a cool tree with a hole in it to deposit his nuts. You need to find a warm weather friend.

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    1. Dear Emma, you're quite right. With each summer getting hotter, I find friends wandering mindlessly away. But I still have a couple, probably because the air conditioner in the pantry window still works. Squirrels however are famously absent-minded and dig long shallow trenches in search of their winter assets.

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  4. I too am a bag of mad old bones, In winter which is my best season.
    Nuts? Who cares. They will turn up. Or someone's will.

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    1. True,EC. I've never questioned squirrels on their views of ownership, but conclude they haven't any. I've let them know I'm here to help if nature and memory fails them but they forget that too.

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  5. "Skulking" was just the right word to use to describe Ernest in the last photo. And he looks quite well padded for a squirrel who can't find his food!

    Our weather has gone from hot and humid to very cool, all of a sudden. Good sleeping weather!

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    1. Your weather is more compassionate than ours this summer --perhaps if we paid higher taxes... As to skulking, neighborhood cats who are unaware of my policy of freely granting hunting rights, definitely exceed squirrels in their skulking skills.

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  6. Glad Ernest's memory kicked in. Heat and age may addle our brains but what a thought you ponder! If all the religions converted each other, would be we back to where we started or some place new?

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    1. Dear Tom, I share your excellent question with commensurate absence of answer. You've definitely nailed an enigma. My question is, how did so many sects, which value the same virtues and abhor the same vices, come into such conflict with each other?

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  7. I have always thought that madness was a privilege of age, am looking forward to seeing how much more eccentric I become! The inclusion of a sea shanty is a fine thing too. Yesterday we had a cold dose of rain, I will try to blow it across the Atlantic, we can spare it here xx

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    1. Yes, Lisa, I trust you still have some pull with Oak Dragon and can get him to herd clouds this way. If not, I shall scold him from the ground --and enlist the aid of Ernest Squirrel who can scold better than I. As to madness, I'm somewhat ahead of you in that definite privilege and can assure you it is not debilitating so long as you do NOT abandon poetry --it is a fine madness.

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  8. That's a very wise squirrel. He knows better than to get into religious topics...

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    1. Dear Harry, Ernest Squirrel's wisdom is rooted in survival --as is ours, hopefully. He consults his instincts and intuitions and has never been to church. Hard to imagine what squirrels would leave in the collection plate.

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  9. I still know where my nuts are, but the heat does funny things to them. At least it used to.
    Our local squirrels seem to tolerate the frigid cold better than the heat. I'll tell them "hi" from Ernest.

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    1. Delightful comment! Yes, even sitting sometimes gets uncomfortable in the heat, but we are human and never forget where they are. I'm sure hot weather has made Ernest testy and uncomfortable but he is always friendly and you may relay his greeting to all squirrels with confidence.

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    1. Indeed, Arleen. I find it helps if I resist the urge to scamper up trees.

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  11. Funny, I don't see squirrels much in summer. See way too much of them in winter!

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    1. I've heard red squirrels are quite active in late summer in the East, due perhaps to high humidity --uncertain-- but they will coincide their foraging and stockpiling with other flora and fauna --egg-eaters, who also collect mushrooms to dry in tree boughs for the winter. Amazing adaptations!

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. sin soleng, Thanks for your comment --although the connection between this essay and Tai porn escapes me.

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  13. This post has me laughing with delight! Kudos to Norman for getting a good photo of Ernest! Squirrels aren't easy to catch with a camera, but I think Norma has an advantage over me by being much less high strung.

    I'd remember where my nuts were too when confronted by your religious question.

    I have a lot of questions about religion; and, at this point in life, I should probably resolve them. I'm not sure that I want to be like the soldier dying on the battlefield at the end of C. S. Lewis's "Screwtape Letters," embracing Christianity in his last seconds of consciousness. That's cutting it a little close!

    I remember distinctly when the realizations that other religions had resurrection events and gods impregnating women emotionally slam me. Instead of seeing Christianity as different, superior to other religions, I saw suddenly saw it as the same, not superior.

    Now, my big enigma is what is it about humanity's search for God from the very beginning. Even Neanderthals practiced burying their dead, and that may point to some religious urges among them. Is belief in God just a result of an evolutionary advantage that belief caused? A belief that allowed those in power to control those under them? Or is something really going on with God and a Creator?

    Back to your question, humans being humans, some would quickly go back to trying to take advantage of the situation to empower and enrich themselves.

    As to your warning about the spelling of "Ernest" and "earnest," I have a devastating memory of my first English professor in university excoriating me in front of my freshman class as he returned my first paper. I had spelled his first name "Earnest" instead of "Ernest" on the cover page. Some lessons you never forget ~ Especially when you are a sensitive seventeen years old!

    Have a good one, my friend! I hope the weather cools for you soon!

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    1. Dear Louise, what a delightful and welcome comment. You raise some good questions. As to "something really going on with God and a Creator?", there seems to be 2 confluent theories from theology and physics: the universe was the 1st thought of God and it exploded (prompting the phrase, "Well, that's the last time I light one of those!"); or the universe burst from an inter-dimensional notch in nothing. Both theories suggest that all possibilities are assembled in the resulting universe --even those possibilities that are mutually exclusive, which is why it must be really big and full of improbability. I believe I have just described a mind. It is also intelligent. Neanderthals, who had cranial vaults of slightly greater capacity than ours, doubtless recognized this and buried their departed loved ones back into the arms of creation --and for sanitary reasons. As to "Earnest" and "Ernest", your English prof. might not have forgiven you but Oscar Wilde would have kindly and profitably done so.

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    2. Your phrase, "Well, that's the last time I light one of those!" will have me chuckling all evening, Geo!

      I've read a number of books on astrophysics and cosmology, and I find the confluence between different theories from theology and physics fascinating. That confluence has moved me closer to belief in a God over the years. I don't know which is harder to grasp, an inter-dimensional notch in nothing or the mind of God.

      But I suspect that, if there is a God or a Creator, He/She/It is beyond anything we could imagine. My mother always reminded me that "We see through a glass, darkly." To me that is one of the truest things in the Bible. Certainly the human urge to seek for and find God seems to be universal in cultures throughout time and therefore is compelling to me.

      When my seven and eight and nine year old students and I discussed religion versus science, and I had to navigate through and respect many conflicting beliefs among my kiddos, I would always tell them that there were different ways of knowing and that different people were stronger in some ways of knowing than in other ways, just like some kids are stronger in math than in writing. That seemed to get them and me through the discussion with less conflict and more respect for each other. You'd be surprised at how profound kiddos can be at times.

      Meanwhile my husband and I go round and round on reason (him) and intuition (me). LOL Have a good one, my friend!

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    3. Dear Louise, certainly we coexist in in a theological confluence, just as our universe exists at the confluence of two continua: one electromagnetic; the other, gravitational. Religion and science approach the puzzle with different postures and processes. Religion relies heavily on metaphor. God touches the clay which becomes human, but Genesis refrains from saying God withdrew His touch, leaving a future open to diversity and evolution. We have made a science of evolution, and social science of diversity. Clearly, the existence of all thought, inquiry, science depend on tremendous operations of the universe --it comes from the human mind-- but more recently, researchers are testing the theory that the brain exploits some sort of quantum coherence. I'm very excited about this research because it aligns our minds with both the vast sidereal universe and irreducible quanta of matter & energy and timeless conservation of both. Reason, intuition and all manifestations of sentience are under discussion now and progress promises continued reward.

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    4. Thanks for your thought-provoking reply, Geo. So sorry I'm just reading it now. Things went downhill for me on the 31st. I have such fun with infections and antibiotics and pain.

      I had not heard the term "quantum coherence" before seeing your comment, and it wades right into a fundamental enigma that continues to perplex humanity: What is consciousness? That, to me, is as big a question as the origin of the universe or the nature of God. Quantum mechanics fascinates me, but it makes my brain hurt sometimes trying to grasp at its meaning. This research is something quite hopeful. I see much of the Bible as metaphor, but I go off track when I see God making Eve from Adam's rib. It always pisses me off! LOL Have a good one, my friend! You've given me lots to think about!

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    5. Louise, I have studied quantum mechanics since I was a child because my older brother, Frank, has a gift for math and would sit in the yard with me, scratching out the secrets of the universe in the dirt with a stick. He explained so much, and I was --even more than now-- full of questions. The more I learned, the more my imagination was informed, and the more questions emerged. I learned I had to put my whole mind to them, not just conscious mind but other parts that I still understand even less.

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    6. Lucky you ~ What a great older brother to have!

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  14. It could be that Ernest suddenly remembered where he'd left his nuts, but I think it was the talk about religion that scared him away. He may not have ever been in church, but he may have heard about the chaos caused when one of his relative in Mississippi visited a church one Sunday... if I remember right, it was called the First Self-Righteous Church. (Is that a great name for a church, or what?) (You probably remember the song, but just in case you don't, it was a Ray Stevens tune.)

    Somehow. I don't think everybody converting everybody at the same time would work...unless they all magically became believers of the same religion.

    Keep cool, dude.

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    1. Delightful Susan, "The squirrel that went berserk in the 1st uprighteous church" is a wonderful example of of hilarious country music from my past. Lesson being, "You never know when a fight for survival will end up in revival". Ernest Squirrel wouldn't distinguish between uprighteous or selfrighteous; he'd just panic, with much the same result --and who's to say squirrels and manifestations of the holy spirit aren't miracles of identical construction?

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  15. Whenever I read the name or word "E(a)rnest," I think of the book, Cheaper by the Dozen, and the line "Two maggots were fighting in dead earnest (or Ernest)."

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    1. Excellent double entendre. Gilbreth/Cary came up with some memorable ones! Thanks, Lori.

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  16. Squirrels, dear Geo., thank you for your post! I will at once send a note to son to read it, he is the tallest (2.02m) squirrel fan I know. They are drawn to him (or the nuts he has always for them in the pocket). My DiL now bought him a beautiful golden seal ring - with a squirrel on it. ("Or do you think it is a bear?" he asked me. "No - a squirrel" I could reassure him - an old ring, a bit naive the drawing of the heraldic animal - but unmistakably a squirrel).

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    1. Dear Brigitta, I have no doubt squirrels fearlessly scold bears from their trees --just as they scold me. Norma, however, can get quite close to all wild things --she does not use a telephoto lens. Finally, no matter what shady things sin soleng is selling, the joy of reuniting with you online stamps him as an agent of Providence.

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    2. Yeah, the heat has been pretty bad. Okay, it's been really, really bad. I tend to suffer from double vision each time I venture out into the world. I've encountered a dazed and confused squirrel or two during my much needed walks to shops and such. They always bring a huge smile to my face. And that's all I have to say about that...

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    3. Dylan, those little furry guys are so self-assured, despite being tiny, they bring joy in the cruelest weather. I just hope we all get through August with our sanity and love of squirrels intact.

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