A squirrel came bounding toward me just now. I noticed him and he me, and he stopped.
For a brief moment we stared at each other, frozen. Then I saw him decide.
He spun and bolted off, disappearing into the bushes. I saw him re-emerge on the other side of our small pond. He made his fast, agile way through the plantings and rocks. I watched as he bounded, equally happy and energetic, across the bright sunny lawn toward whatever came next.
If he’d had an initial path in mind, some plan or intent, it ended when we met. Even though it is Autumn, and every moment of preparation now critical to his survival through the long Winter, he did not panic. He did not slink off sadly or bolt blindly in fear or even stop and ponder when his plan – his path – unexpectedly changed.
No, instead he just kept moving in a new and unexpected direction. And this kept him safe.