I wrote last time about a zen master squirrel leaping off my roof to a branch which seemed impossibly far away.
Now I have another rodent story but nothing so profound. On a recent trip to see Crater Lake in southern Oregon, I was driving on a remote two lane highway. Suddenly a chipmunk zoomed across the road right in front of me. No one was behind me, indeed there were no cars in sight in either direction, so I safely slammed on the brakes and he scampered on to the other side.
Good grief, I thought. No car in sight and he picks that moment to zip across the highway? Not too bright. I drove on. In the next mile or so, this scenario was repeated about fifteen times. I’m not kidding. They were all running from the left side of the highway to the right, all racing lickety split with their tails straight up, not looking or slowing down.
A mass chipmunk migration timed to coincide with the only car for miles? A bunch of adolescent chipmunks lolling about on a slow day, daring each other to see who could get closest to the car? What in the heck was going on?
Having written about the wisdom I gleaned from the squirrel, I searched for meaning in the chipmunk caper, but I’m stumped. So I’ll turn it over to you. Any life lessons here?
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Saturday, August 11, 2012
Chipmunks Playing Chicken?
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The chipmunk can teach you how to read the voices of others. To know truth and lies in their voices. Trust what you hear in their voice rather than their actual words.ReplyDelete
More at: http://www.linsdomain.com/totems/pages/chipmunk.htm
Thanks for the link, Linda. I was caught by the "keeping a project secret for six weeks" part as well as the voices part. Both of those are particularly applicable to my life today. I guess all those chipmunks were there to get my attention! Thanks for commenting.Delete
I vote for the squirrels playing chicken and you being the bait. If nothing else you got some extra practice in stunt car driving which might come in handy if something larger than a squirrel decides to dart in front of your car. Or you got some new material for a blog post. Or you worked on developing quick reflexes...ReplyDelete
Lynne, I felt like a stunt car driver! I never thought about developing those skills, but now.... Thanks for commenting.Delete
Chipmunks living life to the fullest:)?ReplyDelete
Why cross the street when there are no cars when you can have an adventure and make crossing the street into a life/death game.
Or just maybe they were trying to get a ride from you Galen:)
Vishnu, Chipmunks looking for a life/death adventure! Reminds me of trying to cross the street at busy intersections in Bangkok and Nanjing. At some point I would just position myself in the middle of a crowd of people crossing and just hope for the best! Thanks for your comment.Delete
:-) They were just crossing the road and had no idea you would appear. Expect the unexpected is my take away :D Hugs - it is so comic to picture this in my mind.ReplyDelete
Vidya, You are probably right. It makes me think that there must have been hundreds of chipmunks crossing the road, all going in the same direction. I just happened to see a few of them. Where were they all going so fast?! Maybe the open road made them vulnerable to hawks, so that's why they were racing. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I've been traveling for five months now on narrow roads and in National Parks .... the wildlife is about ... it's been just me and a RAM ;) and elk and a lot of deer and chipmunks and those chipmunk twins -yellow ground squirrels and geese! Almost slammed into these guys blocking the road ... I drive very slowly ...ReplyDelete
Tons of critters ... Three huge carpenter ants were found in my van last night !!! I'm camped in the moist wet Olympic National Park at the moment ... They're like mini lobsters!!!
My point? Animals don't believe humans or cars will hurt them because they live in ignorant bliss .... in National Parks especially
I don't believe in fatalism ... every thing happens for a reason and there are no accidents ... I truly believe in just plain ol .now. and animals and nature are prime examples of .now.
Carolyn, So true. Animals are great models for living in the present. Even when they are storing up for winter, they are fully in the now. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Great chipmunk story - my take on the chipmunks - They just had a sermon on FAITH and they were asked to go out and test their FAITH and they only way they knew how is to that that great LEAP of FAITH much like the squirrel but since chipmunks don't get air borne - this was the best way they knew how - to run across the street and having enough FAITH that someone just like you that wouldn't harm an animal or a soul would be driving along that highway - there are no coincidences in life just GODs way of staying annoymous....ReplyDelete
Nancy, I'm a great believer in the power of faith, but I still look both ways before I cross the street! Love your take on coincidences and God staying anonymous. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Very strange phenomena, indeed! I can't think of a reason except the little guys just wanted to add excitement to their day. :)ReplyDelete
Loved how you wove this story!
Blessings to you!
Martha, Well, they succeeded! Thanks for the kind words and your comment.Delete
Much like the squirrel, this has an obvious explanation. Somebody told the "Why did the chicken cross the road" joke. After a couple of tells, some idiot said chipmunk instead of chicken, and the rest is history.ReplyDelete
CW, Thanks for adding your wonderful humor to the story!Delete
oh my gosh..pretty funny actually, that they were just waiting for you!ReplyDelete
Annmarie, It seemed just like that. I looked in my rear view mirror a couple of times and saw not a single chipmunk crossing the highway. They were only crossing in front of my car! Thanks for commenting.Delete
More delightful story telling - I never seem to see chipmunks any more - our yard is full of squirrels but 2 bald eagles have nested close by and an owl and the population has some new controls this year.ReplyDelete
When we went to Lake Quinault Lodge for our wedding anniversary there at breakfast was a chipmunk in the bird feeder....delightful antics while we enjoyed our breakfast.
It was just your lucky day for being delighted.
I am reviewing a book tomorrow that included Carter Lake and Portland in the author's journey. FYI
I wanted to point out the last week's book - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - I think you would truly enjoy that delightful British read...very ZEN!
Patricia, My lucky day indeed! I look forward to reading your book review. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Hmmm, I wonder if the chipmunks represent the popping up of ideas and our (my) tendency to let them dart around, back and forth, all willy nilly, until they finally settle where they need to be or someone squashes them?ReplyDelete
If you think about it, ideas are somewhat like tiny rodents--sometimes they're cute and sometimes they are a nuisance!
Beth, Great analogy! I have many rodent ideas--of both sorts. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I'm afraid I have no words of wisdom other than....you see a bright light and you go for it! Not in a "THE bright light" way..just a chipmunk might be attracted to it and then hear the noise of the car and bolt! Boring, I know, but I am SOOOOO glad no one got hurt! :)ReplyDelete
Katy, I know. I couldn't make any sense out of this either. Yes, I'm glad that no chipmunks met their maker under the wheels of my car. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I'm thinking maybe the chipmunks are like the obstacles who can't anticipate in our daily life. We never know what will happen but we can't NOT do something because a chipmunk parade might run across our path. They took chances. We have to as well. I so always enjoy your posting and this one is no different. What a great blog!ReplyDelete
Kathy, So true. We can't just stop and park the car. Great analogy. Thanks for your comment and for your kind words.Delete
Thanks for sharing chipmunks!ReplyDelete
The Lion's Claws! Come have a look I dare you :)
If you like follow & share your thoughts please.
I will check out your site. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
Great story...LOL..I also find it funny to picture all these mini creatures leap across the road. I don't know what the meaning could be but maybe it was all to impress a "chick" chipmunks standing nearby and keeping scores... ;)ReplyDelete
Nathalie, That's a new interpretation! Only the fastest, bravest chipmunks get the girls. Thanks for commenting.Delete
That is really strange. But I feel like only you can figure it out. You have to journey to the chipmunks. And ask them. You can do a guided meditation and ask them to come talk to you and tell you the meaning of that! I'm sure it will be interesting!ReplyDelete
Jodi, That never occurred to me to ask them! I will definitely do that. Thanks for the suggestion.Delete
Hi Galen. What a fun query! I believe the chipmunks psychological evolution has peaked and unlike us lucky humans they aren't getting any smarter! :) You and I are lucky to have an expanding spiritual existence on planet earth. I believe that we put ourselves in touch with our whole and complete spiritual selves again by holding ourselves accountable for our own psychological evolution. When we hold ourselves accountable, we undergo a self-transformation that recovers our original powers and heightens our spiritual experiences of self... unfortunately for the chipmunk that may be as good as it getsReplyDelete
rob, I'm having fun reading the wide range of interpretations. Thanks for adding yours. Very intriguing!Delete
The word that comes to my mind is "context". I think the chipmunks do that each day around that time, and they'll do it through roads, ravines, predators and vehicles, until there aren't any more of them to do it.ReplyDelete
The difference was that you were passing in a perpendicular direction through their ordinary route. Animals engaged in directional movement don't usually stop for anything except a direct barrier like a wall or close-mesh fence.
Deer, ducks, coyotes, raccoons, quail, they all do that across our roads here. Only cats and dogs, the ones that live among us already, seem to regard our movement with much attention.
I like very much the way we humans ascribe deeper motives and meanings to these kinds of behaviors, even though I think it is more from OUR need to see depth. Part of the strength and purity I enjoy about watching other mammals is that they do NOT appear to judge risk versus benefit very deeply. They merely decide if they feel physically capable, then act upon their desires in accordance with longstanding habits. Their emotions are uncomplicated by neurosis or historical-cultural comparisons. They don't reflect upon their impending mortality. They live every moment IN the moment.
Mikey, So true. I'm no expert in chipmunk behavior, so they might have just been doing what they do all the time. Your description is very much what I observed in the squirrel story I related in the previous post. No deep analysis--just look and jump. Very enlightened. Thanks for commenting.Delete
PS to Mikey--I meant very enlightened--both you and the squirrel!Delete
It does seem like the chipmunk crossing is more than a random thing. Do you think it was a message to you? When an animal shows up unexpectedly or in unexpected ways I usually GOOGLE "animal totems" and the name of the animal.
I found some info on the chipmunk partway down on this page: http://cof-interspiritual-mindfulness.blogspot.ca/2011/08/animal-and-bird-totems-animal-speak-and.html
I think it's fun to read messages in nature. When we moved to our country home I awoke the first morning to the site of two deer at the back of our property. I looked it up. Same thing when I was preparing to publish my book and a Great Blue Heron landed in our yard! What fun!
Lori, I will check the totem site and see what I can learn. Since you saw a heron before you published your book and I saw chipmunks (my book will be out in October), I wonder what that means! Thanks for your comment.Delete
I loved your story as usual. I have know clue why chipmunks would do that; they must not have any GPS. I do have a story however. When we lived in Washington one morning I looked out the window and there was a squirrel surrounded by quails. It looked like they were having a party of somekind. I so wish I would have had a camera. I am happy that you didn't run over those little critters.ReplyDelete
LeAnn, I don't know about GPS, but they must be nearsighted and hearing challenged not to see or hear the car coming. Your squirrel/quail scene sounds delightful. Thanks for your comment.Delete
This story is your point of view., Pearl. :-) They must be thinking - What a day.. A car jumped suddenly in front of me, can you believe it? What can I learn from it?ReplyDelete
Well, the world is full of surprises.
Every day can we see something new, if we open our eyes. It can be such an experience if we will only open our mind every day to feel the new.
It is a nice story!!!
Miri, Ha! I had not thought about it like that. Love your perspective. Thanks for commenting.Delete