Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Squirrel Sanctuary

The problem with having a garden that is like a sanctuary, is that it is... a sanctuary. You can take some time and just relax. Just look out at the plants, listen to the water trickling, the bees buzzing, the birds chirping and not worry about things.

sanctuary, [L. sanctuarium, from sanctus, sacred. SANCTITY]. A sacred or consecrated place; the temple of Jerusalem, particularly the most retired part of it, called the Holy of Holies; a house consecrated to the worship of God; a church; in the R. Cath. Ch. that part of a church where the altar is placed; the cella of an Egyptian, Greek, or Roman temple; a place of protection; a sacred asylum; right of affording protection; refuge in a sacred place; shelter. [from my '69 Webster's]

Birds and bees and small creatures come to my garden sanctuary daily.

The squirrels are quite comical. Although I know they can be a nuisance. A squirrel just chewed a huge hole in the lid of my garbage can, trying to get at something inside. They often grab all the sunflower seeds for themselves, leaving few for the birds, who fly off once the squirrel shows its face and flashes its fluffy tail.

They compete with the crows and the bluejays for the peanuts I set out each morning. Often they are there first and are in no hurry to leave.

You get to like them, even if they are rodents, and rather scruffy ones at that.

They are

quite curious

about you, too

So when I saw the squirrel that somehow had gotten red paint on its tail (did one of my neighbour's spray paint it to mark it?) on the ground in my garden early this morning, I was curious why it was hiding behind the hops and the Lady's Mantle. Why wasn't it springing about the yard, knocking over the wooden owl, or leaping along the tree highway or digging into my flower pots making a mess like it normally does?

It didn't move when I came near, so I knew in a flash. Like the bluejay that had hopped into my yard and hid under my lettuces, it too was dying. It had come to find a safe place to die. I knew this at once. I bent down and saw its slow laboured breathing. Had someone poisoned it? Did it get into some toxic household chemicals in some garage somewhere? I was afraid, like with the little blue jay that had brought its death rattle to my backyard, that the neighbourhood cats would smell death and skulk around in a flash to get it. So, to give the squirrel some peace, I quickly went to the basement and got a laundry basket. I placed it gently upside down on top of the squirrel so nothing could get at it. When I went back 10 minutes later to check on it, its eyes were still, so too it's breath.

So that's the problem with having a garden that is a sanctuary. Small beings will come there for sanctuary.


Anonymous said...

Your sanctuary looks like my backyard. I spend a lot of time on my deck, hidden beneath the pines, watching the squirrels and spying on the birds.
I often wonder, "Do squirrels ever fall?"

northshorewoman said...

laafrodescendiente, your blog is amazing!!! I stumbled upon your post about Obama and the n word while searching stuff for a webclass I am teaching on Canadian identity formation and multiculturalism and I think I spent hours in the dead of night reading your thoughts!