the stuff of life, and death

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

We had no idea there was a squirrel nest somewhere near the top of our house. And we all wished we wouldn’t have discovered it the way we did, finding a sweet newborn baby squirrel squeaking away, in the front yard. I had never seen a baby squirrel up close before, and despite having declared the adult versions of these animals a lifelong enemy due to a series of unfortunate squirrel break-and-enters in my bachelor days (and some swiped bagels and apartments full of squirrel leavings) – my heart broke a little bit for this sweet baby. I was once again swept into that primal place we as mothers get to visit when we birth our own children – a place of vulnerability and wishing and hoping.

We tried to make the baby as warm and comfortable as possible, waiting for the Mama squirrel to come and claim her baby, rescue it and put it back in the nest. But we knew that she knew that baby was hurt, and she had to feed herself after birthing all of her babies, and take care of all the rest of them. It’s nature’s way, we told ourselves. But the sweet baby, lying on its side, breathing deeply and so very new to this world… well… it captured our hearts, as I’m sure all newborn baby anything can.

After a day of watching, out of the way of the mother who we hoped to come… we buried the little squirrel in our backyard and were all at least a little relieved it was not in any more pain. Difficult lessons for little ones to learn – the starkness of life and death is hard to swallow sometimes.

That afternoon my daughter and I set to work making lots and lots of window stars to shine the rainbows of light inwards and outwards, hoping to bring more light this way. And the daffodils decided (finally!) to peek their yellow heads out that afternoon. A sure sign that life goes on, and is still very very beautiful.