Fleeing the Famine
Fugere et illos oppresserat fames or Fleeing the Famine is the third piece in the You are Worthy series. A squirrel family comes face to face with squirrel death (I learned that squirrel skulls look really weird) and makes a choice, or were they given a lucky opportunity? Somehow they break into someone’s yard and find a zucchini to nibble on. Let the feasting begin! I’m curious to hear your version of the story. Here are some possibilities to get you started:
The famine is caused by a volcanic eruption which in turn caused a mini ice age. The squirrels take a chance on leaving their favorite tree to roam a different neighborhood where they get lucky
The squirrels’ feudal overlord is demanding too much of their crops, leading to widespread starvation. Luckily there are some humans in the area who are not subject to the devastating consequences of squirrel politics, so there is a mass exodus of squirrels to human farms and homesteads
It was a very rainy summer and many crops rotted in the fields, but in one house lived a crazy inventor who found a way to keep her crops dry. The squirrels have luckily found her small farm
During a plague related economic recession few squirrels can afford food, and squirrel farmers are allowing their crops to rot unharvested rather than give the food away. Severely weakened, the squirrel family has been spending much of their time sleeping and dreaming. The human house with the zucchini vines appeared to them in a collective vision, and hope gave them the strength to seek it out
These are just a few possibilities. Feel free to comment with your own story if you feel so inspired. In the meantime enjoy this zucchini recipe for something that isn’t bread – in fact it is zucchini “noodle” soup!
I haven’t tried it, but it looks yummy!
Next week I’ll talk about gay guinea pigs, troubadours, and courtly love, all things I studied intently in high school. And mark your calendars for my virtual art show of the whole You are Worthy series coming Tuesday, November 24. I will present a video and my studio in Shoreline, WA will be open by appointment for in person, Covid safe viewing.
I know things are tense around the country right now, so take care of yourself and each other. Meditation has helped me considerably. Most weeks I send out a meditation you can do to address various issues you may be experiencing, so feel free to sign up for my newsletter if this sounds like something you need. Take a deep breath and try to remain calm while the votes are counted. Art is a great distraction when everything feels too intense too. Take a break and draw a squash, then make dinner.
*Here is an origin story submitted by Carly Paranoia:
No one knew why there wasn't enough food for everyone. All anyone knew was that there never seemed to be enough to go around. One day, a hungry mother squirrel and her kits we're foraging for nuts and berries. They had searched for days and had not found much food besides a few pinecones and bitter leaves.
They came across a little house in a clearing with a quaint and lush garden. In that garden, the youngest kit uncovered massive zucchini: the biggest one they'd ever seen! At once, without much thought, they tore into the delicious squash, savoring every juicy bite. So hungry we're their entitled nibbles, that they failed to realize they were in no ordinary garden. They were feasting in Death's garden.
As they sat back, with their full and happy bellies, Death emerged from a hole that was gnawed in the zucchini.
"I am owed," came a voice from the unmoving skull. "Replace what you have taken from me."
The kits trembled with fear and ran to their mother for protection. "How?!" cried Mother squirrel, fearful that she would have to pay a price too great.
"I am Death and I require life," Death began. "I take life from one place, and put it in another. It is my sole driving purpose. Give me your lives, so that I can plant you anew and restore the balance you have foolishly disrupted."
Mother squirrel thought quickly, as squirrels do. She had no intention of giving her life or her children's lives to some cloak wearing skull with a scythe that crawled out of a squash calling itself Death. "I have a proposition for you," Mother Squirrel stated, straightening up tall as an idea began to take root. "We will give you life, but it will not be our lives."
Death tilted its head under the black cloak. "Explain," Death calmly demanded.
"For every bite we've taken, we will plant a seed," Mother squirrel said. "By my calculations, we will supply more than enough life for you to shift around to your hearts delight."
"I have no heart," Death said flatly. " I will agree to your proposition. I suppose I will see all of you soon enough." And with that, Death dissolved into 500 dandelion seeds that rode off on the wind.
Mother squirrel, now truly believing the cloaked figure to be Death, wasted no time getting to work gathering acorns, other nuts, any seed she could find and planting them. One seed planted for each they consumed. She taught her children and other squirrels to do the same. Over time, it became the nature of all squirrels. Ultimately the squirrel's behavior brought an end to the famine for all creatures. In fact, you can see mother squirrel burying nuts and seeds to this day as she continues to elude Death.