This I Believe

Huong - 20716, Maryland
Entered on November 20, 2006

Caring Should Have No Boundaries

My brother and I were on the last stretch of road before our walk would be over. It was close to 1am and the air was still and silent. We walked down a sidewalk that we have trotted upon thousands of times before. It was pretty dark when suddenly I felt my toe kick something that was small and soft. I almost overlooked it but felt a little creeped out when my imagination started thinking what it could possibly be.

I decided I had to find out so I stopped my brother and we both crouched down to the ground. In what little light we had from a nearby street light I realized that I had kicked a small pink creature. It finally registered that it was a baby squirrel. I thought maybe there was a chance it could be alive…even though another part of me knew it wasn’t.

I know you’ll think I am weird but I just couldn’t just leave this baby on the sidewalk. I picked him up and cradled him in my hands. He was so young that he was hairless, his eyes were only purplish spheres under the lids and there was dried blood where the umbilical cord once had been. It looked like he had been recently born.

I walked towards the light and turned him over gently. I could see his heart. Just faintly under the pinkish skin and that’s when I realized he was cold. Not stiff at all but cold. I inspected his tiny paws and tail and felt extremely sad. I started to cry. I just felt terrible that this little baby had fallen and died and was alone. I was scared that maybe he was alive somehow and if I left him there and he died, it would be my fault.

My brother, trying to comfort me, told me maybe the baby was a stillborn or something else unknown was wrong and the mother pushed the baby out, that happens in the wild. I hoped the baby was dead when he fell, I hoped he had not had to suffer.. I put my finger over his heart and felt nothing–like I had expected. I lay him closer to the tree where I found him so no one else would kick him or walk on him. and my brother and I went home.

I felt better remembering when I had helped rescue another baby boy squirrel at school last fall. I guess there was nothing I could do this time, but acknowledging it feels right to me. Though there are thousands of squirrels in this world, I still felt this baby at least deserved a little caring. I couldn’t have saved him but I cared about what had happened to him. I know I can’t save or help everyone in this world but I do care very much just the same because sometimes thats the most you can do.