A squir­rel at the church win­dow puts on a thought-pro­vok­ing sideshow

Tri-City Herald (Sunday) - - Faith & Values - BY MELVIN ADAMS Melvin Adams is li­brar­ian and res­i­dent poet at North­west United Protes­tant Church in Richland and a re­tired sci­en­tist. Ques­tions and com­ments should be di­rected to ed­i­tor Lucy Lug­in­bill in care of the Tri-City Her­ald news­room, 333 W. Canal

The church squir­rel is usu­ally out there in spring, sum­mer, fall and some­times in win­ter.

I have a good view of his tree from my pew win­dow. Of­ten I think he is tun­ing in to the ser­mon and par­tic­u­larly the hymns.

In sum­mer the squir­rel ca­vorts around and up and down his tree, some­times jump­ing up fac­ing one way and com­ing down fac­ing the other. Some­times he scam­pers up and down the conifer like a de­mented log­ger. He even jumps from limb to limb like a crazed trapeze artist in a three-ring cir­cus.

The squir­rel par­tic­u­larly likes Easter and is ob­ser­vant dur­ing the whole ser­vice par­tic­u­larly when we go up and place flow­ers on the cross. I feel like he wants to make an of­fer­ing to his own tree of life, per­haps an acorn. Maybe he would like to scam­per up our tree of life to try to find out where Je­sus went.

Some­times the squir­rel has a com­pan­ion, and I won­der if he is a mem­ber of a larger con­gre­ga­tion. Do they have their own crosses to bear, their own cru­ci­fix­ions and res­ur­rec­tions? Do they have a the­ol­ogy of trees en­graved as pat­terns of bark?

Do they feel fears, loss, hope and long­ing? Do they mourn their dead and grieve? Do they think there might be a sort of eter­nal life where the trees grow for­ever and the gen­er­a­tions of squir­rels never end?

We may never know, but maybe we will be­cause the uni­verse is filled with much more im­prob­a­ble things than this.

Once I told the pas­tor that she had a squir­rel or two in her con­gre­ga­tion. She said that it had al­ways been her hope to min­is­ter to varmints.

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