An Offering

This morning as I walked on the graveled road near my house , a flurry of movement caught my eye  – a scrabbling among the fresh grown grasses and weeds. Small purple flowers and dewberry blossoms enlighteded the green. But the pretty sight of spring’s beginning was marred by what I found. A squirrel was there, yet no expected scamper met my approach. So strange to see the small familiar head alert, eyes darkly dancing in the early light, his tiny front paws scraping the ground. He meant to be moving forward away from the monstrous human casting a shadow over the spot where he lay. Poor creature couldn’t understand that part of him lay still and unresponsive to squirrel purpose. The inert legs lay sideways to the rest of him, and I stood  in sorrowful indecision. Intervene or let Nature take it’s course. Yet I had walked that way, and finding him, I felt responsible. I saw his fate: fire ants or plaything for a sharp-clawed cat.

Back home, I called the vet where I usually take my dogs and was given the number for a wildlife rescue organization. After speaking with a gentle but unavailable volunteer, I filled a box with leaves and pine straw, and hurrying back, used a shovel to ease him into the makeshift bed. As I drove to the vet I had called before, I knew  it would probably be discovered that his back was broken. No more ecstatic frolics through the high gnarled branches of his favorite trees; no more feasting on delicious pinecones, berries, and stolen birdseed.

Driving home alone, I felt bereft – of the creature I had hoped to save, but also of purpose. I could do no more. Some vehicle had hit the squirrel in his reckless dash across the road. It happens all the time, but this time life had lingered long enough to truly touch my life, reminding me of the fragile thread connecting all of us to earthly existence. I live in a woodsy place,  have often used my shovel to move a lifeless turtle, bird, or animal from the road to a gentler resting place, but this was different. Now, as I sit here telling this story, purpose returns. As I think of the bright squirrel eye, the living eye, and the spirit behind that eye,  my own eyes blink and stare at this screen with a livelier interest than before my early morning walk.

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2 Responses to “An Offering”

  1. Kendall Says:

    A moving story. I can see the little squirrel. But I can’t quite follow. Did you take the little one to your vet? Or was it too late when you got back with the box?

  2. leiflife Says:

    Thank you, darling. I rushed this writing a bit, due to picking up the children from school. I think I have made it clearer, now, that we did make that awful journey to the vet. Even now, though I know it was the merciful thing to do, I have some regret. I wish I had brought his body back to the place he had lived and played. The woodsy place.

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