i just spent the past half an hour watching a squirrel in my front yard. the curious behaviour caught my attention in part because it was so repetitive. you see, he was picking up acorns from underneath the southern oak which tends to drop them by the thousands, and then carrying them after a careful taste-test scrutiny, to another location in the yard. as soon as he’d ‘planted’ the one, he’d run back to the tree and taste-test another…sometimes eating a bit, but more often, running back to the same general location of the yard as he’d planted the previous ones.
over and over again the squirrel repeated the behaviour, relatively mindless of being observed and seeming to be in a bit of a hurry.
i know from long hours of watching squirrels in the past that they quite often dig up one of the acorns from their cache, only to put it back into the ground and cover it over. it is because, as anyone who has made ‘nupa’ (a mash made of acorn that the native americans used to make) acorns must be ‘washed’ and ‘rinsed’ to free them of the tannic acids that give them a bitter taste. so i did understand the reason for burying them, digging them up, tasting them and putting them back again.
but what surprised me about this clever little fellow was that he was taking the acorns from a place in the yard that rarely gathers a puddle of rain, (because of the overhang of the oak branches and the relative high ground upon which it stands), then bringing them to the only place in my front yard where, to my dismay, large puddles form during a good rain.
over and over again…and just as a storm was gathering strength enough to really let loose!
as i watched, my mind drew parallels. this activity of ensuring that his acorns were exposed to the element needed to rid them of their bitterness made me think of how certain kinds of exposure about transgender issues can help to make them more palatable to the general population. just as the squirrel was exposing his treasures to the rain to make them less bitter on some happy morrow, we who expose our stories about transgender issues cannot but help to improve the attitudes of the society into which our children must eventually find themselves. maybe making it a bit less bitter of a place.
it may seem like a bit of a stretch, and perhaps not a very good analogy, but as i sat watching the little guy, who seemed to have mapped out in his head precisely the regions that would provide the best exposure, i thought about the programs on t.v. that have brought exposure to transgender issues. i thought about chaz bono’s high profile courage in being who he is and how people like him and the thousands of others bravely being themselves are improving the savour of trans issues. i thought about the readers of this blog and the writers of countless other blogs like this one in cyberspace.
i couldn’t help it.
it seems to me that the wisdom of squirrels is far more broad than merely making sure of a stash of acorns, they know just where to plant them in order to get the desired result.
ziona and i have to save up money like crazy for the massive costs of hormones and the eventual surgeries she will go through to achieve her tomorrow. she is only eligible for medic-aid as she has so many other conditions that no insurance company would have her, and medic-aid doesn’t in every state cover the hormones, much less the surgery. so like little squirrels, we are stashing away the necessary funds.
but we are indebted to the other wise squirrels who expose their ‘treasures’, their very selves, to public scrutiny and awareness, because all the dollar saving in the world won’t help to remove the onus of being transgender…for that enlightenment is necessary.
so here’s to the wisdom of squirrels! and cheers to the people planting the seeds of tolerance by sowing them where they’re most likely to lose their bitterness: in the public eye.