I am sitting in remote cabin where I have gone for a week of prayer and writing.
A squirrel has befriended me in my hermitage. Several times a day she lands with a thump on the windowsill, taps boldly on the window and watches me with bright anticipation. Ask and it shall be given to you. I go to get some scraps of food but my slightest move scares her and she vanishes into the woods for several hours. Sometimes I catch sight of her lying on a tree branch watching me from a safe distance.
We now have a routine. Each time she comes, she finds a trail of apple or bread on the window sill. It leads her, piece by piece, away from her safety behind the sealed glass to the open window where I wait to meet her.
She works her way along the trail. Behind the glass she is eager, even confident. But as the open window gets nearer she grows more tense – appetite and curiosity battling with fear. The last few pieces by the open window, face to face, take all her courage, several false starts, snatched almost on the run, like a sneak thief.
There is a desire here – an attraction and seeking out that is more than food (though food is where trust is grown for all of us). But that trembling hope, the drawing near that each time risks a little closer – I feel it too. For so am I in my desiring. I too watch and long at safe distances and find the boldness to demand from behind safe barriers (if closer that I know). But as the open window nears – face to face, fearful, trembling, this is all I dare; my escape is well planned against your slightest move.
Quick, go! A flight that always feels like wild relief- a perverse liberation. Until the next time, the yearning being strong.
She has just returned. The ritual begins again. I don’t know her desires – and nor, perhaps, does she. But we begin again to seek each other. Then suddenly I sneeze.
She’s gone (how does God’s sneeze sound to us?).