The Search for the White Squirrel (or 3 reason to have an unsuccessful adventure.)

A few months ago, Nathan and I were in North Carolina for his sister’s wedding. On our way home we took a detour through Brevard for the sole purpose of seeing some white squirrels. The story goes that a pair of white squirrels escaped from an overturned carnival animal truck some years ago and were captured and raised by a family nearby. Eventually the squirrels were released and began to breed in the neighborhood. White squirrels became more common so the town began to protect them and eventually started a festival in their honor.


So we went to see the squirrels. The best place to see them, or so they say, is on the Brevard College campus.


My husband has seen the white squirrels, and if it weren’t for pictures on the internet (and a whole festival that we barely missed) I wouldn’t have believed him. I had a passing thought that he was playing an elaborate trick on me, and it would have been a good one. We walked up and down that campus, and the whole time I had my camera in tow, ready to snap proof of the elusive animal.


We didn’t see a single one.


We saw TONS of grey squirrels.


I guess I should have been disappointed, and, well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t, but I wasn’t just disappointed. We had fun. We got some exercise. We had an adventure, and it was memorable. We’ll go back again one day. It might take several tries, but I’ll see one eventually. One day we’ll take our kids so they can look for a white squirrel (and go to Sliding Rock nearby!)


I’m reading a book called Living Into Focus by Arthur Boers, and when I read his account of his several unsuccessful hiking trips to see a moose on a particular trail, I thought “that’s my white squirrel!"


Focal practices: activities that balance, center, focus, and orient one’s life.


These activities, among other things, make demands on us mentally, physically, or otherwise, and they are often out of our control. I can press a few buttons on my computer and I can see several (hundred? thousand?) pictures of white squirrels, but this activity is neither truly enjoyable or memorable. I can wander around for an hour or so, battling gnats and mosquitos, and not see a single thing to write home about, and I’ve had an adventure.