Wednesday, November 14, 2007

November 2007

I have an interesting friend out these days. We saw him first in October being carried by his mother back to the nest. I have never seen a mother squirrel carry her baby. It didn’t look like a squirrel at all, but one giant mound of fur hopping gently across the lawn, through the hostas, up the tree, and finally disappearing into a ball of leaves.

A few days later, the baby crawled across the yard to where I had scattered sunflower seeds. He crawled. Squirrels hop merrily wherever they go - it’s one of their gifts. This one crawled. Not because he wasn’t merry, but because his back legs didn’t work. They dragged on the ground. Both of them. He moved here and there using his front arms to pull him along.

I felt horrible. Horrible that he was hurt, horrible that I didn’t know what to do for him.

We set out fresh water low to the ground and seeds where he could reach. Every few days, we saw him. Pulling along. Eating acorns from the driveway and seeds on the path. Even playing with his brothers and sisters by the fairy garden. We thought, perhaps, we should catch him. Bring him to a wildlife rehab where he could be watched over, fed, kept warm. Sheltered from the breeze, the rustling leaves. But whenever we spoke about it, he would disappear and we would end up saying prayers for him instead. Maybe he just wanted to be free.

It had been a week, I hadn’t seen him. The clouds were gray and I looked out toward the pond just to see if the frogs would come out despite the lack of sun, and there he was! Sitting under the hanging feeder picking up seeds. I knew it was him because when he grabs a seed, he has to lay on his belly to eat it. He can’t stand up. He was beautiful. Content. Letting the breeze touch his ears, enjoying the rustle of leaves as he searched for seeds.

Enjoying the rustle of leaves as he searched for seeds.

I watched his fur glisten, I watched his happy eyes when he found seed after seed at his feet. I watched the changing leaves curl by his side.

I enjoyed the rustle of leaves as I search for my own seeds.

P.S. I call him Harvard because he’s just so smart.

Anthea & Marigold, of course, take extra good care with the gentle ones. Mari's been floating around all afternoon storing up acorns!

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