You will die.
It was balanced precariously, so high up I could barely see it. The only thing protecting it from the jaws of certain death was a sliver of brick that appeared so fragile up against the unconquerable mountain of a building it clung to the side of.
Run, I thought to it, wishing so desperately that it could hear me. Get to safety, hurry! Don’t stop! You might lose your balance!
Onlookers watched in awe. It looked so tiny all the way up there, grasping on for dear life to that tiny space, completely alone, facing mortal danger with the valiance of a warrior. Will he make it? Will he not? Our jaws dropped as it raced along the edge, wobbling and shaking, just millimeters away from toppling over the side where it would land, splattered and broken on the ground. It was so close to the roof – so, so close – it was almost there safely at last when it stepped on its foot, faltering at the last second. My eyes slammed shut. I prepared to hear its body hit the pavement with a horrifying thud. It would come any second now: the tragic, grotesque end of a life… but it didn’t. There was silence.
I peeked through the little cracks in my eyelids, preparing for the worst. However, there it stood, tall and proud and alive, staring down at us from the roof.
The squirrel had made it safely up and across the treacherous walls of Cooper Hall.
In my personal life, I’ve had to learn a thing or two about bravery (emphasis on “had to”). I’ve been in some horrible situations. I’ve had to deal with grief, and abuse, and mental health struggles, and horrible sickness around me… I’ve just been surrounded by fear for a very long time, so I’ve had to find a way to get through it. I’ve been proud of my bravery, but at the same time, I never really wanted to be brave. I always looked at adventurers (like the squirrel on Cooper Hall) facing danger and mystery for the sake of living, being brave and conquering their fears because they chose to, and I wondered if I’d ever be able to accomplish that.
One of the first times I had the choice to be brave was when I was deciding whether or not to apply to MSA. I was afraid. However, it was an adventure. It was intimidating, but I knew I could grow so much from it.
We will never know why that squirrel chose to climb that wall, despite how dangerous it was. But we can make up stories about it. I think that the squirrel had been in tree after tree, running from danger, sticking to routine… but one day, it realized that if it really wanted to, it could climb higher. It was scary. It was intimidating. However, it was also a choice.
I think we can all learn from that squirrel. Maybe our lives are too stagnant. Maybe there’s something more we can accomplish. Although safety is important, risk is, as well. I think that every once in a while, we should climb a little higher… not for survival, but for the sole purpose of just reaching a little closer to the sun.