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Plump squirrels and climate change

This Fat Squirrel, (CC BY 2.0)

This Fat Squirrel, (CC BY 2.0)

I remember thinking that the roof would cave in.

Thunderous, powerful sounds moved from above and landed on the ears of the humans underneath. Loud, angry, overwhelming noise that monopolized the sanctuary. The sheer weight of the sound suggested huge, monstrous creatures were above. The sacred space we sought to worship in became uninhabitable.

Further investigation revealed that two squirrels that were our adversaries. Squirrels who had inherited, from previous generations, a comfortable church roof where they could hunker down in pseudo-hibernation. Squirrels that were waiting to hear the alarms of cold and snow to tell them to begin their long winter nesting ritual: one filled with day upon day of continuous sleep and rare emergence from the comforts of their nest. But the winter temperatures had not come, and so they continued to eat, and eat, and eat, in preparation.

And so they became capable of making humans rise and move. Discomfort had set in. And we moved, humbled by the recognition that in the fight for ownership, we had lost our battle with the sound makers above.

Extremely Plump Squirrels: 1

Humans: 0

It’s a silly little story, really. You might even be inspired to giggle, envisioning parishioners gathering up their books to distance themselves from the ‘monstrous elephants’ (a.k.a. squirrels). And if that causes you to laugh, you might also find humour in my recollection of the summer flies that flew in to both chalices this past Christmas Eve.

These stories seem inconsequential. Easy to dismiss as something other than climate change. Much easier to deal with than if we had been living in the United States last week when most of the country was debilitated by one of the biggest storms of the century. Simpler than if we were personally dealing with the droughts in Africa or California. Easier still than being impacted directly by melting glaciers and rising sea levels.

Extremely plump squirrels, and summer flies in the middle of December seem rather insignificant in comparison. So much easier to ignore.

That is, until we realize the interconnectedness of it all. Until we recognize that even over-eating squirrels and summer flies in the winter are all part of the same system: part of the same thunderous, powerful sound of climate change, moving from above and below, seeking to land on the ears of humanity. Enticing us to listen, to move, and to do something about it. Asking us to witness even the smallest result of changing temperatures, and wonder why. Inviting us to consider the role we play in the care of this whole earth; this sacred space we long to continue to inhabit.

The Rev. Monique Stone

About The Rev. Monique Stone

I am blessed to be the Incumbent at the Parish of Huntley in Carp, Ontario (part of the Diocese of Ottawa) and have lots of fun contributing to the leadership of our rural parish. Whether I am sitting at the local coffee shop or flipping burgers at the annual Fair I consider authentic engagement with the broader community integral to my ministry. I personally feel that this period of church history with all its changes, declines, doubts and concerns is exciting, inspiring and best approached with a sense of hope and a sense of humour.
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