22 August 2010

Nothing left to give but freedom

When there is nothing left for you to do, you have to open the door. Baby squirrels don't last forever.

If you've done your job, fed them, sheltered them, healed their wounds as best as you could, watched them emerge into healthy wild animals, an open door, a hatch swinging wide, is the only thing left you can give them now. The baby squirrels are long gone; in their place are juveniles, grown and growing impatient.

Open the door. Freedom rushes in at them like a deep breath they've been waiting their whole lives to inhale. It fills them.

Open the door. Let them come flying out or - in this case, strolling out, matter-of-factly. At whatever speed they choose, they will still know what to do. They are following a map that has been etched into their bones since birth.

Say goodbye. Love them from a distance. Don't forget them, though that favor won't likely be returned. And as you leave the woods, empty-handed, move on. Close the door. They already have.


chet said...

I've read once that the highest form of charity is that which is anonymous. And in that sense, you are fulfilling the highest goal possible for wildlife.
Then there's another aspect. I mean, you could release them nearby your home, at which place the little fellows could be assured a reasonable variety of food all year long. I don't think anyone would complain about that, but it's more than releasing a sqirrel into a safe environment.
Let face it: Humans have screwed up the world: eliminating sources of food for every kind of animal that there is. Where are all the streams flowing across the land? Long Island, for instance, has managed to vanquish so much of the wild.
But one superior species remains: the gray squirrel. It can help keep forests alive and active. But squirrels themselves need help. You send out your messengers and help support what's left of groves.
And in each new face that you rescue, you can see that the line is continuing, a line that you're helping to preserve.

Cactus Jack Splash said...

How rewarding it must be to see them head out to the wild where they belong. What a wonderful thing you do.

merinz said...

I guess the bottom line is - they are wild animals. However this one took his/her time to embrace freedom!

WatchfulEye said...

This is beautiful. It's such an analogy for teaching too. I especially like the part where you say not to forget them, although that favor won't be returned. That's the way I feel about the students I taught as a student teacher. And it's also what I saw in Daria's teachers. Many of them still comment about her, but she doesn't remember them, although at the time when she was under their care, they were the most important thing to her. This is one of your best posts. Thanks for writing it.