We get a lot done around here before noon, and you never quite know what a day will bring.
This morning, I woke before the rest of the household and had my quiet time with the Lord. Then I made a breakfast of scrambled eggs and garden tomatoes (blueberries for my son who detests tomatoes) with coffee for me and Papa (I love that the kids call my husband Papa, it hearkens back to Laura Ingalls Wilder for me) and milk for the kiddos. I await the day when the milk is produced right here on the homestead.
After breakfast we went out to see what happened during last night’s storm. We lost one tree in the back of the property, but it was dead and I had been meaning to fell it for a while. Thanks God, now I don’t have to.
Near the fallen tree debris, we found a baby squirrel. To my surprise, he was still living when Cyd, our border collie, found him. I’m not a squirrel fan by any means but my tenderhearted little boy had to bring it in. He said, “The baby squirrel gots no mama; I love him!” So… my hands were tied. We put him under a heat lamp and in lieu of pet milk, we offered some sample infant formula we had gotten in the mail but wouldn’t ever use.
He was very weak and his breathing was labored, but he was moving and breathing when we found him so we tried to get him warmed up.
My son and I talked about how the squirrel may not make it, we just had to do what we could to make him comfortable and the rest was up to God.
The squirrel didn’t last much longer than an hour, but I can sleep soundly knowing we did our best to get him warm and dry and his last moments were as comfortable as possible.
I told my grandma that my son has the same animal instinctual empathy that my husband and mother-in-law have that just isn’t one of my gifts. I’m very thankful that my son has it. While I’m averse to many creatures, that little man can connect with just about anything. We both hope his heart stays so tender and caring. Life and death are a reality on the homestead and it’s just a reality we have to embrace. Death is not something I’ll ever get used to in the sense that it won’t affect me emotionally. I have no joy in seeing animals die, whether by nature or in order to feed our family. But I am learning how to cope with loss and move on with a humbled heart and gratitude for God’s precious gifts.
After we buried the squirrel, we went for a walk around the garden and I witnessed some of that incredible beauty of creation; the stuff that’s so beautiful it makes your heart ache.
Just a single butterfly, perched on a tomato. The colors of it all were so vibrant my breath caught in my chest and I know that photographs don’t really do it justice. I think it was more the fact that I could go from seeing death to then being faced with remarkable beauty in a matter of moments that made me just praise God for His goodness and redemption.
And that’s why we do what we do out here. That’s why we sacrifice our time and our freedom to travel so that we can be connected to this life cycle and the beauty of creation. We see pictures of God’s grand design in this broken world and it causes us to long for the redemption of all things when Christ returns.