10 November 2010

Minus one


Some squirrels are never meant to go back into the wild. They arrive into the care of rehabilitators, broken and damaged, and can never be fully restored to physical wholeness.

So it was with CurleyQue, who in the summer of 2000 was a fallen baby providing a soft landing for the two brothers in his litter, but only by virtue of having landed before they did on the hard, unforgiving earth. His brothers were none the worse for their journey; CurleyQue, however, remained unconscious for a few days.

He emerged from his twilight state into a world of challenges: his nose had been irreparably broken, he had issues with balance, his ever-growing incisors were maloccluded, requiring frequent trimming, and he did not have the best immune system.

What he had, however, was heart. What he had was courage. What he had was an incredible spirit to go forth into life for the next 10 years seeing himself quite clearly as the center of a big universe, kicking up his heels, burying nuts in the wilds of his indoor world, wherever he could - in his bedding, in a pair of shoes, behind a piece of furniture.

When his right eye clouded over with a cataract, partly from age, more likely from his original trauma, he never lost that clear vision of who he was and what he wanted. No vision could ever be clearer than that of a wild animal, even a damaged one.

In the arithmetic of the wild world, we rehabilitators often deal more with multiplication, and the numbers grow exponentially each spring and autumn as the heart of squirrel breeding season delivers its litters to our doorsteps.


Now, as the sun sets earlier and an autumn freeze sinks its claws into the earth, we are surrounded by subtraction. Loss of leaves from the trees. Loss of life-affirming sunlight. And loss of life itself.

On Monday, Nov. 8, 2010, at 2:15 a.m., CurleyQue closed his eyes for the last time and went free. He taught us much during this precious, privileged decade. Now we are the ones in free-fall toward a hard, unforgiving reality.

But for us, there is no one - and nothing - to cushion the sudden, damaging impact.

16 comments:

Jan 4 Insight said...

Squirrel Mama, you did a good thing for this little guy. Thank you.

squirrelmama said...

Thank you Jan, it was a privilege being entrusted with his life....I hope we did him justice.

leemathomas said...

Caryn, CurleyQue will live long in our memories. He was blessed to be in your care.

lgsquirrel said...

I know that squirrel rehabilitation brings much joy to you but there is always the cost of sorrow when you lose one, even when that one has had as full a life as could be imagined. I think love is demonstrated by the fact that you are willing to pay that price. In the end, we all can only hope to love and be loved. In this matter, CurleyQue was truly blessed.

Anonymous said...

The other day,as I went in the door to the renewal center, a small squirrel scurried across the entranceway, pausing for a moment to 'check me out' - right away, I thought of CurleyQue, whole and happy and doing what squirrels do, running and playing among the trees in God's garden. I thought of you, Caryn, and how you helped CurleyQue be all God created him to be, while he was here with us. I am sure he is watching over you and all the little ones that find their home with you! :-)

Cactus Jack Splash said...

I am sitting here in tears....
I am so sorry or your loss. Sounds like he had a wonderful, full life with you. Bless you for all you do. Hugs from all of us here.

chet said...

Beautifully written, a wonderful tribute to a wonderful life.

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry that CurleyQue no longer with us. I am sitting here in tears. He had a wonderful life with you. You are very clever person and I am very proud to know you. I am thinking of you and to CurleyQue.
Katka Soukupova, rehab centrum for squirrels Pinky, Czech republic

Je mi velice líto, že už není CurleyQue mezi námi. Sedím tady a brečím. Měl s vámi nádherný život. Jste úžasná a velice hodná žena a já jsem pyšná, že Vás znám. Myslím na vás i na CurleyQue.
Katka Soukupová, záchranná stanice Pinky

squirrelmama said...

Chet and Katka,
Your words are very comforting....and I know that if love could keep an animal alive, CurleyQue would have lived forever.Both of you have had special squirrels cross your paths as well. :-)

squirrelmama said...

Cactus Jack, your thoughts mean a lot to me, I think any one of us who has ever cared for an animal, and had those feelings and that attention returned, is changed forever.

Maura M said...

Caryn, I didn't know CurleyQue's story until this moment, but what a beautiful story it is, and a life so well lived, thanks to you! The fact that CQ had 10 long years with you is remarkable, especially for a squirrel with challenges like his. You are certainly a wonderful squirrel mamma. Rest in the arms of the angels, CurleyQue.

squirrelmama said...

Maura, he was every bit the angel,too. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am so touched by the work that you do. In your sorrow, I hope you know that this tiny life, this little squirrel beat the odds and lived 10 satisfying years, thanks to your caring.

I must tell you that I look at all squirrels differently, thanks to your blog. And I am maniacal about putting out pecans, my local squirrels' favorite foods, even when I haven't made my house payment! Dallas

squirrelmama said...

Dallas, I think it is awesome that you have given them such high priority. You are a kindred spirit. I would sooner forgo some extra groceries so I can get them the best pecans, or whatever the "nut du jour" is at the local market.
Yes, I do know that a decade is a long life for even a healthy squirrel and this little spirited being enjoyed privilege, love and so much more. Perhaps that is why the void is so much bigger with him gone. We always knew this day would come and yet....dreaded it.

Julie Squirrelady Gallagher said...

What a beautiful soul! My little friend Floppity was born with squirrelpox and I treated her with Reiki. She healed beautifully and remained in the wild... We were chums for eight years and she had many litters. A couple babies did not survive the pox, but several did and eventually no more pox showed up in the litters. This fall Floppity bade this planet farewell and in meditation, she sent me a wonderful message: "I have seen the other side and there is no place where love is not." I hope Floppity meets CurleyQue and they have a wonderful journey! Thank you for your dedication to all the furry tailed boddhisattvas!

squirrelmama said...

Julie, what a lesson we learn from these wise souls. Floppity was blessed to have you. And all the effort you made to give her life back to her - so she could give more lives a chance - was repaid tenfold if not a hundredfold. :-)