The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
In my old office at school we used to have a poster of the serenity prayer, and the young woman who taught Spanish could occasionally be heard mumbling "Serenity now, serenity now." Little annoyances happen in everyone's life. You forget your reading glasses at home and you cannot read the menu at dinner. You leave the check book at home and discover it only at the check out with a dozen impatient people fidgeting behind you. The road that you normally take to work, to school, to the grocery store is down to one slow moving lane due to spring road construction. The squirrels behead all the tulips in the flower bed you planted with such joyful anticipation last October.
It started when my husband said, "Did you put tulips on the patio table?" No, I did not put the tulips on the patio table, and I did not cut their heads off and leave them ragged and forlorn on the gravel path. It was the usual culprits, the gray squirrels who live in our woodsy neighborhood, and who are very well fed by nice people with bird feeders.
On days like this I strip off my thin veneer of sweetness and compassion for all living things and consider assassinating the little rodents. No, I wouldn't do that. But I have tried all manner of things to discourage them. I have planted the bulbs under chicken wire. I have scattered moth balls. I have bought fox pee and sprinkled it. I have dusted the planters with red pepper powder. These methods can be expensive because they have to be replenished every time it rains, and the bottom line is they don't work. I have borrowed a live trap and taken the bushy-tailed vandals for rides miles away in a county park. But all is vanity. I think I'm going to surrender and dig up the tulips and replace them with daffodils, since the squirrels don't seem to enjoy them.