Last week, squirrels were our theme.  Why? I have no idea, but they are all over the place. We have 4 or 5 squirrels in our yard regularly, there are the black variety of the gray squirrel and of course the gray squirrel. They love being at our house, and we would've invited them for Thanksgiving dinner, if they didn’t fight so much. They love to gnaw down our bird feeders and then feast on the contents, the poor birds just perch on the overhanging branches watching. My husband has gone to extreme measures to keep the squirrels out of the bird feeders. First there were squirrel proof bird feeders, bird feeders out in an open space between the trees, then the baffle over the bird feeder, If they couldn't get into the feeder they chewed the ropes down that held them and down would come baffle, bird feeder and all. He is now thinking about  putting up chains instead of ropes to hold them.  I don’t think they have a preference between shelled sunflower seeds or thistle seeds - they eat everything. A friend said her family would have a squirrel feeder and a bird feeder. That makes a lot of sense and is a kind thing to do for the squirrels, unless of course they start getting into your house. One of my 80-something year old friend shoots at the red squirrels through her second story window because they get in her house, between the walls and it can be very annoying in the winter to hear that scratching all the time, and who knows what they’re eating … insulation, walls, etc. 
    In life it’s always easier to fight than to give up. At least that’s what we’re taught, fight the wrong, fight the cancer, fight the squirrels. But what if for once we listened to some wise teacher who said - ‘let it be, let it be’ -  it is love rather than fear that needs to win, and it often takes a life time for us to realize that. 
    The black and gray squirrels are the same species and probably they are the same family. I don’t know, it’s interesting because for years we only had gray squirrels and then one year there was a genetic variation or something and bam, most of the squirrels were black. I don’t know if this is good because the gray squirrels blend in with the scenery better, so they are safer, but the black ones seem to stick out. Maybe this is OK for Old Forge because there really aren’t many squirrel predators in our neighborhood. They are too big for our cat and dogs don’t seem to be able to catch them. 
    Sometimes when we look at our churches in the north country there doesn’t seem to be any diversity, we are all the same, we like the same music, we believe the same things, at least on the surface. It is easy to get caught up in doing everything the same. For years our towns and our churches have done everything the same way, this is the right way to do it we tell ourselves. But the same isn’t always the best way, sometimes it’s just the easy way. You know how we get in a rut and let things just happen in the same way over and over again? 
    In Old Forge they’ve been having Christmas on main street on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving and advertising it as a family time to say that it’s OK not to go crazy shopping on the day after (or day of) Thanksgiving. It brings people into town. This year for the first time, Niccolls Church said, how can we serve our community.  So they opened their church as a warming station, there was hot cocoa, children’s games, the 4H was there teaching crafts, they put movies on the big screen in the sanctuary, and had a sing a long every hour for 3 hours. What a way to serve!- meeting your community where they are and offering  your service.