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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Travails of the Tiniest

Travails of the Tiniest

By Amy Patsch

Amy Patsch
Amy Patsch

Last evening as I was sitting at my computer I heard a faint noise. Because my hearing is frail I can no longer tell the direction of sound. The noise wasn’t continuous but was consistent. I leaned over the printer and felt it to see if that was it. No. I sat back down. But again the noise was close by. Finally I opened the shutters on the window to look out and behold, on the edge of the first floor roof sat our tiniest squirrel making this noise. It was a call of distress but I couldn’t see the problem.

When she saw me looking she ran out of sight and I assumed she must have gone up over the roof and jumped to the tree where the three remaining squirrels from last year’s litter sleep for the night.

But, this morning after a heavy rain I looked out into the yard and the tiny squirrel was on the ground and looked as if it were in convulsions. She was writhing on the ground soaking wet. I love these little critters that share their escapades with me through my kitchen window, so I asked God to help her with whatever was wrong.  

After some struggling she seemed to straighten out and began walking in wobbly circles for another few minutes or so. She looked totally drowned and her little fluffy tail was nothing but a string. 

That is when I realized she must have gotten onto the roof yesterday and couldn’t get off. We have electrical wires on that side of the house that run through the Magnolia tree, which she easily could access and get onto the roof but once she jumped down from the wire she would not be able to jump back up. The little thing must have spent the night on the roof in the rain and felt she had no other choice but to attempt the jump back to the wire – but she missed.

That’s a long 8-foot fall for a tiny squirrel and it must have knocked the wind out of her. That is surely when I spotted her, as I had been past the window numerous times that morning.

I went out and cooed to her to see if she was OK and I took her a box with a towel in it to comfort her if she needed it. She kept her distance but when I left she went over and sniffed at the box but didn’t take me up on the offer of the dry towel. 

Just about that time my husband, Neil, drove in. His truck has been a favorite jungle gym for the squirrels and so when he exited she ran right over to jump into the tire well to get warm from the engine’s heat. 

I saw her a bit later making her way across the yard moving a tad more jauntily and yet still very damp.   Eventually she climbed the Maple tree where there are four large squirrel nests. I assume she went to rest. I spotted her later and she was still fairly rumpled. I’m not sure how long it will take her tail to fluff back up but she appears to have survived her ordeal.

These squirrels had to leave the nest way too early because the mother squirrel was too small herself to care for the six of them. I’ve enjoyed their craziness ever since and pampered them the best I can without letting them become too friendly with humans.

I watch as they chase leaves and jump high in the air for no reason that I can see. I do place a corn cob in a dangling holder to watch them hang upside down and feed themselves. Occasionally I will put out peanut suet for them in small chunks, which they love. They are a blessing to me – I believe they are a gift from God to make me smile, so I don’t mind at all asking God to take care of them when they are not well.

Lately I have been reading books about and by Charles Spurgeon, a pastor and prolific writer during the mid-1800s. If you listen closely to the sermon each week you might notice he is still widely quoted today.

The prayers for the squirrel brought to mind Mr. Spurgeon because I have been reflective ever since I read his words, “I fully believe that the foreknown station of a reed by the river is as fixed as the station of a king and the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered like the stars in their courses.”

How comforting to be reminded the fate of the squirrel, as well as my own, is all in God’s providence.

ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City. Email her at writerGoodGod@gmail.com.

Columnist

Amy Patsch writes religious and faith-based opinion content for the Cape May County Herald.

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