There was a blackout a few weeks ago in Berkeley. At first I thought it was the kids playing hide and seek near the power strip again. I grumbled my way to the plugs and turned the bright red little switch back and forth. And back and forth. Except that it never lit up red.
I got concerned when I noticed that the heat lamp for our baby tortoise Woody was off. And I wondered how long he could go without heat, being cold-blooded and all. Good thing he had buried himself under a mountain of wood chips before he went to sleep!
After putting the kids to bed I considered my next move. Too dark to read, nothing to plug in to entertain me. I savored the simplicity, the permission to crawl under the covers at 8pm and surrender to doing absolutely nothing.
The next afternoon Ben asked, “Do you know what caused the blackout?” His eyes were wide and excited.
“A squirrel!” he said. “He bit through the electric wires. 45,000 people didn’t have any power. Just a tiny little squirrel did that!”
“Did he survive?” I asked.
“No. He blew up,” Ben said with a nervous grin.
I considered the squirrel. What did his squirrel friends think?
“Larry! Always getting himself into trouble.”
“I told him not to chew the wires!”
“Did you hear what happened to Larry? He went out in a blaze of glory!”
It reminds me of a quote by the Dalai Lama:
“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
And I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this. Maybe because I can feel how we are all connected. How that squirrel’s life and our own was somehow in his tiny little hands.