Tag Archives: sadness

A Land Without Squirrels

X-Files David Duchovny as Fox Mulder, image from wikipedia

David Duchovny as Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files, image from wikipedia

Month eight in Wichita. We’ve yet to see a squirrel in our yard. Time to call Fox Mulder.

We’ve seen robins, turtles, rabbits, toads, barn swallows, cardinals, deer, muskrats, herons, and a turkey who crossed the road, but no squirrels.

This wouldn’t be a big deal except we have a dog whose favorite pastime is hunting squirrels. Flamboyant St. Louis squirrels.

Cairn terriers are bred to hunt vermin. Ella was only a few months old when once during a walk back in St. Louis, a squirrel fell out of his tree and landed on me. I screamed. The squirrel ran. My cute, innocent, downy-headed puppy sprang into action transformed. Ella didn’t catch the squirrel, but she treed him and wouldn’t move.

St. Louis Cardinals Rally Squirrel

rally squirrel

Long before Rally Squirrel gained World Series fame, the squirrels of St. Louis infested the attics of our old houses. They chewed through electrical wires. They picked our young, blushing tomatoes, eating a single bite before leaving them ruined and discarded on fence posts. With ardor, they hollowed out our Halloween pumpkins.

Our neighbor Bob got fed up with them one spring. We’d see the barrel of his pellet gun poking out his second-story window.

The lone gunman shot more than 80 squirrels that year, but didn’t make a dent in the population.

Another neighbor Larry owned an exceptional golden retriever. Yankee was as perfect as a dog can be in both temperament and stature. When Yankee died, Larry posted a eulogy on a tree in the park: “For Yankee, fine dog and companion, who caught 16 squirrels here. You will be missed.

Our dog Ella never caught a squirrel, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Now she doesn’t have a chance.

I thought of this one night when I couldn’t sleep. It’s the little things like squirrels, forgotten toys, and expired cake mixes that get to me.

In the dark, I could see the outline of Ella’s tiny body curled up on her bed beside mine. How sad she hasn’t chased a squirrel since we left St. Louis. Poor little dog, been through so much.

How much more her owners.

We humans navigate the changes of life, flying and leaping and scuttling through as best we can. We try not to fall, but often we do anyway.

We run for recovery in the next city, job, or relationship. We race away from the sadness only to find it has cornered us and will not let us go without a fight.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14 NIV

Counting Crows are a favorite. So is their cover of Start AgainEven though it’s complicated, we got time to start again…

What “squirrels” keep you up at night?
How do you put them to rest?

 

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