20 May 2010

Adagio is free

Perhaps if he had been named Allegro, his departure might have been easier. But from the very start, he was called Adagio, connoting music that is slow in tempo, easygoing and not necessarily quick to action.

It suited him: As a juvenile squirrel coming into my care last year, he was shy, slow to adjust, often afraid. Buddying him up with other juveniles was supposed to give him courage but instead it pushed him further behind his little protective wall.

Adagio spent the winter with two squirrels - a male and female - who got their freedom only weeks ago, after spending a long winter here, sheltered from a barren world of leafless trees largely inhospitable to the unindoctrinated squirrel. Adagio elected not to travel with his cagemates that day; he retreated, slow and steadfast, to his nestbox where he hunkered down, embracing his solitary stance against the outside world.

He would not be moved.

Today, when Adagio went free, he did it on his own terms. But his departure from the cage was accomplished only through the removal his nestbox itself - with him safely inside. He could not be enticed to go on his own. At least, not yet.

By the time the door hatch finally opened, we had carried his box deep into the woods. Still, he clung to that last piece of artificial shelter, the wooden box he'd called home for two seasons of his life. And once again, he would not be moved. He was listening to his own tempo, deaf to any other's.

Then, as if a cannon had propelled him, he shot out - and into relative obscurity. He left the life behind him - the life of wooden nestboxes and of captivity - making his final appearance to human eyes as only a blur of gray against a deep green background.

His physical pace, at last, had quickened to match that of his heart. And he followed it, without once looking back.

7 comments:

chet said...

Spring can transform an Adagio into an Allegro.

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Best wishes to the little guy

chet said...

On further reflection, isn't it a pity that you couldn't equip Adagio (as well as others) with prepaid postcards to let Mom know how they're doing.

squirrelmama said...

Ah, if only......if only......

Anonymous said...

Had you ever considered letting him stay behind? As if his constitution wasn't suited to the wild? Just asking, to be educated. Dallas

squirrelmama said...

Hi Dallas, Yes, I actually questioned his suitability for the wild when he first came in. He was wary, skittish and hid a lot from the juveniles he'd been paired with - all except for one. Those two boys bonded nicely, except the other boy (Barney) suffered two days of seizures at one point and had to be pulled out of the mix. I kept an eye on Adagio to see how reluctant a squirrel he was going to be. Fortunately, he still showed good instincts, and was well within the spectrum of squirrel behavior to be out in the wild. Some are "alpha" personalities and some are "beta," and he was clearly not destined for a leadership role. But he did show definite skill at taking care of himself - which is what matters most.

Crazyasa said...

Good luck adagio!