Thursday, November 19, 2009

Squirrel Feeders

"When mindfulness embraces those we love, they bloom like flowers."
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Children are naturally fascinated with nature and their powers of observation are more developed than those of most adults. Many of the children prefer to work in front of the french doors so that they may catch the occasional glimpse of sparrows hopping around on the patio or squirrels frolicking on the lawn.

The children have been learning about ways that animals accommodate to winter (migrating, adapting, and hibernating), so I expected them to enjoy making "birdfeeders" out of pinecones (a lesson for which I owe credit to Anna Applebaum and Renee Dorris at Mapleton Montessori in Boulder). What I had not expected was their sheer merriment at watching the birdseed pillaged by a horde of acrobatic squirrels. The children laughed and pointed as squirrels that were as fat as rabbits crept out to the most palty branches on the tree, spirited away the pinecones, and buried their cache in little holes throughout the yard.

I must admit that squirrels are something that I take for granted and that I found myself entertained by their antics. I must also admit that I am always in awe of the mindfulness of children. It is truly a pleasure to slow down and experience life through their eyes.

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