Emily Dickinson said (or at least, wrote), “The soul should always stand ajar,” to which some one, I’m not sure who, apparently tacked on, “ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”  Which came to mind this week while I was drawing a picture of a squirrel experiencing peanut butter for the first time:

TsTs, peanut butter

I have the misrepresented quote on a card someone sent me, on my file cabinet.  Here’s how the poem from Emily Dickinson actually goes:


THE SOUL should always stand ajar.
  That if the heaven inquire,
He will not be obliged to wait,
  Or shy of troubling her
Depart, before the host has slid         5
  The bolt upon the door,
To seek for the accomplished guest—
  Her visitor no more.

I like the thought that the squirrel is having an ecstatic experience.  And I don’t mean to be sacrilegious (I looked it up, that is the correct spelling), but when I finished the drawing, the way the squirrel was “posing” within the rectangle reminded me a little of the paintings of saints in medieval and Renaissance times, where each saint had his or her own panel, within which he or she posed with symbolic objects:


(this one is the St. Luke Altarpiece, 1453, painted by Andrea Mantegna)

I don’t know anything about squirrel spirituality (and who am I to say it doesn’t exist?), but I think peanut butter could be a portal to squirrel ecstasy.

It takes time to make a drawing.  There is time for all kinds of things to go through your mind.  Some of them are pretty goofy, but that’s part of the fun of it.