Day 221 | Monday, 26 October 2020
Day 221 | Monday, 26 October
From the Church Mouse
I want to share with you a story about the black squirrel I adopted when I lived in Cattaraugus. She remained in the wild but certain circumstances brought us together each day. Before I tell you her story, I want to share something I read this week. It seemed so appropriate for our times.
“Life is amazing and then it’s awful and then it’s amazing again;
And in between the amazing and the awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine.
Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary, amazing, awful, ordinary life.
That’s just living heart-breaking, soul healing, ordinary life.
There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:6-7 (NIV)
Now about my amazing black squirrel. When Doug and I lived in Cattaraugus after his retirement in 2011, we owned 40 acres of hardwood and evergreen forest which had been in his family since 1950. It was so beautiful! We had a cabin in the woods with a free-running spring that never went dry. We had a huge lawn off Lovers Lane Road and had worked for years putting up our home, garage, and two-story workshop.
We were blessed with all sorts of birds and wildlife. Many came up to the house to visit. On the back of our house we had a year-round sun porch. I loved to watch the birds come to our feeders with the chipmunks filling their cheek pouches from below. One day, a black squirrel came to feed, it was nearly hairless from mange.
I called my daughter, Sue, who is a vet tech in Connecticut. She told me that the humane thing to do was to dispatch it to end its suffering. We set out a Have-a-Heart trap with corn to catch it. Our friend agreed to do what was necessary and bury it in the woods. The next morning, the squirrel was in the trap, but around her, trying valiantly to free her, were her two baby squirrels. That did it! The sight broke my heart and, I was determined to find another way to help her.
I kept her in the trap with food and water while I looked online to find a “squirrel whisperer”. I found him! He gave me instructions and for $6.00, he sent me a syringe (minus the needle) filled with de-worming medicine used on cattle. He said for me to put some of the mixture on walnuts and feed her for about four weeks. When I freed her from the trap and stepped away, the most amazing thing happened! Instead of running away, she came up to me and allowed me to hand feed her the walnuts. She left but came back the next day for her “medicine”. After a few days, she brought her two babies with her. I finally was able to sit on the steps with her as she but her paw on my hand and leaned over to get her walnuts. After two weeks, her hair grew back, full and shiny. We had a wonderful relationship all summer. I called her Mahmi as I fed her. Her babies would come close to me, but not as close as Mahmi. I found, in the fall, that she had made her winter nest near our cabin in the woods. I did not see her the next spring or after that, but I will never ever forget her. If you visit our back porch each summer, you will see a statue of a black squirrel with her paw reaching out,,,,That’s Mahmi.
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Rev. Douglas Knopp, Pastor Emeritus