The work week resumed this morning with about 10 to 15 squirrels at the back door, waiting to devour handout pecans and all of my attention. There were also the pre-release squirrels out back in the outdoor pen to be tended to, and the few remaining ready-to-go young adults in their cages indoors.
And about 70 miles east of here, in a small veterinary hospital on Long Island's East End, a small hit-by-car squirrel succumbed overnight to his injuries. We'd called him Shelter Island Shelly when we found him yesterday during a bicycling trip on beautiful Shelter Island, a place of peace, redolent with blooming primrose.
But I will not be returning, as planned, to pick him up later this week to care for him until his release back into the wild. His journey is over.
We surely tried. There were four of us yesterday who came upon him lying on the pavement, and each one did our part. And even as we held his body in our arms, we also cradled his fragile existence. If intention alone were all that was necessary in this world to save any life, the odds were unquestionably in his favor.
In the end, there were forces greater and more powerful than our own that held his life too.
Meanwhile, there are still squirrels at the back door awaiting - no, demanding- the next round of handouts. And there are pre-release squirrels still in my care waiting to get on with their lives in the next few weeks.
And they will. We do what we can, but we can only do that - nothing more.