I’m a leaper. Truly, I have been all my life, though as an adult there was a time when leaping seemed more frightening than it does now. I’m just not one to sit on the edge of the nest or the cliff and choose to only look and not leap. Have I always launched into glorious flight? Well I guess technically yes, but some times I was only in flight for a few seconds before I plummeted and other times I took glorious flight to places unknown and had grand adventures. Other times I simply learned to glide gently to the ground so as to avoid that whole plummeting thing.
This morning on my walk I received a reminder about the times when my wings didn’t open in time or when the branch snapped as I leapt. As I was walking along the canal path I heard a loud crack and subsequent splash. I turned to see branches and leaves falling from a tree beside the path and ripples spreading out across the water. I then heard splashing sounds from the water followed by a scrambling sound coming up the bank. A soaking wet squirrel scurried up the bank and back up into the offending tree. I had never seen a squirrel fall before. I have often been amazed that they don’t fall more often given the tiny branches that sway and droop under the weight of their mighty leaps. This was a first. This squirrel was lucky I suppose to have fallen in water rather than upon pavement. Was the squirrel sitting there being grateful for that water that broke his fall? Probably not. Was the squirrel angry at the branch for breaking, for not supporting him? Probably not. Did the squirrel lament his drenched fur in the cool morning air? Probably not.
From the looks of it and the way the squirrel was clinging to the tree he was unharmed and back to the business of being a squirrel. The leap and subsequent fall had not changed much from his perspective. He was not injured. He was damp, but would dry. Clearly he had the power to deal with the consequences of the fall in his ability to swim after he hit the water. I doubt he would be afraid to leap again; after all he is a squirrel. I took a moment to honor him and his fall and apparent well being afterward and wish him well.
As I continued on I thought about how many falls I have lived through physically and emotionally. I have not been as lucky as that squirrel; some did leave physical or emotional marks. Yet, looking back there has always been water of some sort, usually in the form of those I love, to break the fall. I have always been able to make it back to the bank and scramble back up afterward. I admit that I have occasionally held onto anger at the branch for breaking or more often anger toward myself for forgetting how to fly. Of course, that became part of the lesson of leaping; forgiving and eventually gratitude for the fall. I also have to say that often my perspective has indeed changed after a fall, but that is the beauty of the gift of the leap, whether I take flight or fall, always I learn.
Most of all, I’m glad to say that I have always been willing to climb back out on the limb and leap again, knowing that falling and flying are both part of the journey. Thank you friend squirrel for the reminder.