Some little boys may hunt for curiousity or for conquest. Some don’t. My little guy is happy to let wildlife go its way.
My little girl hunts for care giving. She pets bees, you see.
She has a natural curiousity about all living things.
Maybe it was because of the time we walked the two hundred acres and a dragon fly alighted in her hair at the far end, just perfectly, like she was wearing a barrette.
Then, it was happy to hitch a ride with her all the way back home, never moving from the safety of her head until we were in the backyard with the pond in sight.
Clearly, a highlight of her short life.
Daughter picks up spiders, you see. Snakes too, almost daily.
Last week, I saw she had my trap out over in the hedges baited with grass and pine cones, trying to catch a rabbit.
But, it’s the squirrels she’s been after most. A three year quest.
A few days ago, her chance finally came. She heard noises in the garage and suspected squirrel. I was summoned.
Women do that with me. If I’m not working for her ma, she’s putting me to work herself. I wonder where she got it?
Red Green said women like a man who is handy. No kidding…
Under daughter’s direction, I put on my welding gloves (in case) and went looking for the critter, confirming her suspicions while she bounced around delighted. “You might be right, Charlie,” I told her, as I removed another box to look inside..
Sure enough, a baby squirrel had fallen out of the insulation in the rafters, through the plastic vapour barrier and into our stored Halloween decorations high up on a shelf.
Illegal alien rules applied; detention was in order, she said. Well, she didn’t actually use those exact words but there was no doubt a version of “finders keepers” was in force.
Soon, I was also affixing a floor to her old beat up cage, and helping her find a way to attach a water supply. Into her fort the captive went, its cell made as luxurious as she could.
She named it Chocolate Chip. How perfect.
She knew about my friend Lynn, who had a rescued squirrel she named Nico, for over a decade. It had dropped out of the trees as she walked by and became her pet, She cried when it died.
After holding her caught squirrel for a few days, Charlie resisted all efforts, by her ma, urging she release the critter. Ma is her hero in many ways, a good mother and great model for love.
Yesterday, I had a chance to focus on the squirrel issue with daughter while I was in the yard doing a bunch of things.
I asked her how she was doing with her pet. She told me all about her adventure. I listened.
Finally, once she told me everything she had to tell me, I asked her, “Do you love that little squirrel Charlie?”
“I sure do, daddy,” she answered.
Over the last few days I’d mentioned that squirrels live in trees, their natural habitat. Squirrels and trees belong together.
We don’t see squirrels in a field. Nope. Always a tree to live in… with other squirrels, I mentioned casually.
So, I continued, “Charlie, if you really love that little squirrel, could you love it enough to let it go live in trees with other squirrels, with its family?”
She said no, not a chance.
I told her about sitting in front of the garden two days ago, in my old wooden seat where I like to sit, and hearing its mother above in the cherry tree, loudly scolding me.
The cherry tree is connected to the pine tree at the back of the garage where the breach into my rafters had obviously occurred.
“It’s up to you Charlie, you do what you think is right. I trust your judgment.” I was determined to say no more.
She looked pensive, and I could see the resistance on her face. Three years, that’s how long it took her to catch a squirrel, no small accomplishment.
I left it at that…
An hour or so later, this.
She brought Chocolate Chip to me. She had the watchful eye and familiarity of a caregiver with her little charge. She let me take her picture.
First, she stroked the little squirrel’s head, like a mom fixing a child’s hair before sending them off on the bus for the first day of school. Then, she confidently strode over to the pine.. and released it. Straining for a moment as she watched the critter scamper home up the trunk.
The dog joined in watching the critter climb high into the branches. Encouragement I told her it was, helping Chocolate Chip go home.
We talked afterwards. She was philosophical, saying to me: “At least I got to know what it feels like to be a mom.”
Indeed, a glimpse of the Hero’s Journey.
Just like her ma.
Little girls: they teach men about love.