The red, white and blue of Independence Day is still a few weeks off. Any glance at the calendar will reaffirm the fact that firecracker aficionadoes are going to have to hang onto their incendiary devices for a little while longer.
But the grey and white of the "other" independence day is only a few days off. Four squirrels, overwintered in the outdoor pen since early autumn, are preparing for a new life of freedom in the woods. The rescuer of two of them - two little males - named all four when we paired them with an orphaned brother and sister, creating a family of 6- and 7-week-old juvenile squirrels last year. The rescuer dubbed them Carmine, Francis, Vito and Violetta. Good names, a bit operatic yes, but even as operatic names, they are true to the drama of this quartet's rescue and ultimate survival.
Weather permitting, that drama will play out later this week (or perhaps early next week) as the stage of their lives moves to a leafier, tree-filled and cageless venue.
There will be no firecrackers going off, just a quiet celebration in their hearts. And yes, mine too.