Occasionally in life, one finds curious little detours, or signs… something we may not see unless we are paying attention.

I was walking through Capitol Hill, enjoying the late autumn gift of warmth and golden leaves. Although I wanted to get home after work, there was no hurry. Stopping for red lights on the crosswalk, sniffing the smell of leaves… it was a beautiful afternoon in November.

I crossed the street and sauntered on towards the Capitol, humming some nondescript song to myself. At that moment, my new friend made my acquaintance.

A big, fluffy, healthy squirrel jumped in front of me, perhaps five feet forward on my path. I’d walk a step or two, and it would look at me. Squirrel would tilt its head as if considering me, then sprint a step or two further along the sidewalk. It would then spin around to watch me catch up with it.

Many readers will recognize Chi’s natural foe in this scenario. It occurred to me as well. “Wow, Chi would be absolutely crazy to see this squirrel,” I thought. I giggled despite myself and chittered playfully at my new friend.

After about three times through this little chase-me-you-can’t-catch-me game, I allowed myself to think this was intentional on the squirrel’s part. The game became more interactive, first the squirrel bouncing a step or two, me following after. it was a dance. There was no rush in this game, and no place to go. It was charming.

Back and forth we continued, until we reached the edge of a fence. Squirrel and I regarded each other for a long moment. I bent over to smile at it, clicking my tongue at it. It chittered back, and then off it ran along the fence.

The smile on my face lingered the rest of the way along my route that afternoon.

People who practice nature magic — shamans and the like — would be quick to advise me to think about the qualities of that squirrel, for it had something to share with me.


photo by Matt Archuleta

Squirrel’s Gifts Include ability to solve puzzles, resourcefulness, quick change of direction, storing for the future/planning ahead, balance in giving and receiving, power of rest during times of non-movement, warning, discovery, change avoiding danger by climbing to a higher place, action. 

The idea that there are obstacles which cant be overcome is not part of Squirrel’s outlook on life, nor is giving up. Squirrel is an almighty power animal to have any time when you feel you have reached a dead end in your life, or in a situation and ready to give up. We are shown that perseverance and the readiness to try different methods are the keys to success. — Ina Woolcott

That’s all well and good; yet it seemed to be the squirrel was encouraging me to play. And this too is a part of squirrel magic.

It is probably not by chance (but a synchronicity) that squirrels are found wherever humans live. Perhaps they are here to herald a message for us all, not to give up, not to get stressed and as mentioned before there IS time for everything in life. Don’t forget to play, no matter what age you are! 

Cast your eyes around and see if squirrel is playing just out of the corner of your eye. Maybe you can have some fun too. Just make sure Chi is nowhere close by!