Our friends Pat and Larry, and Sherod and I, have dinner together almost every Sunday. We enjoy each other’s company. There are lots and lots of stories to tell. Pat has been wonderful, helping me get my bearings with my “chickenses”. Larry and Sherod have a friendship that goes back decades. Last summer, while I waited for Sherod to finish his work at All Saints, Pat and Larry watched out for me in big ways and small.
Sherod made a nice pot of vegetable soup and I pulled out the San Francisco sour dough bread and the cheese I brought from Cowgirl Creamery. When Pat and Larry arrived in the very late afternoon, we spent time outside, laughing and admiring the chickens. Then, as evening shadows stretched out long and quiet, we came inside for dinner. The weather is warm enough now that we are able to keep the front door open late into the night, since the screen door in front of it keeps critters out.
We were sitting having dinner and laughing when Pat noticed and exclaimed that a small squirrel seemed to be heading toward the house, down the driveway. A few minutes later, I saw a small tail through the screen door and then we all heard a very loud and insistent squirrel cry. I looked over my shoulder and I could tell that the little squirrel was trying to get in under the screen door.
I got up and went to the door. Then Sherod came too and we scooped the little one up and brought him inside. We scrambled madly for a dropper or straw without success. I jumped in my car and drove about 14 miles to a Dollar store where I bought baby formula, a dropper and some rice cereal. By the time I got home, little baby squirrel had a new name: Alston. Sherod had scooped lowfat milk in his hand and fed him. And now, he was lying across his hand, sound asleep.
We have since done more research and realized that feeding Alston milk was not what we should have done and we can expect diarrhea, perhaps death-dealing diarrhea. Thanks to Facebook crowdsourcing, we have found Joe, the local squirrel whisperer, who is on his way to get Alston and try to help him make it. I am left pondering, what made that little creature, who probably fell out of a tree, find its way to our door? What about that very loud insistence that we pay attention? The self-preservation instinct simply takes my breath away. It is humbling to live in this place, where on my way back with the dropper and other things, I saw a coyote and two deers as well. It is a good, good life.