Wednesday, March 16, 2011

from a squirrel

A mother squirrel decided to move into my cousin's apartment about a month ago with her young ones. The matriarch of the new residents, seemingly unconcerned as to whether or not she was discovered, scratched away at the outside wall of the apartment. My cousin's wife, Ivelisse, peeked through the sliding glass door surprised to see the determined mother turn to her unstartled and continued to etch away at the barrier. Ivelisse went back in to her house, continued her conversation with her mother on the phone, in shock as to what she just witnessed.

Days later Ivelisse went to the patio with her basket full of laundry with the intention of placing a load in the washer when she noticed the new tenants moving into her ceiling. The gentle parent placed one new born squirrel in her mouth at a time climbed up a few boxes to the washer from there climbed onto the dryer where she squiggled into the hole which lead to their freshly made nest.

Ivelisse, not too pleased and yet again in disbelief, turned around with her basket still full until the bushy-tailed mover finished transporting her young. The following two weeks little noise was heard on the ceiling of my cousin and Ivelisse's bedroom. By the time the third week came along the rodents ran from one side of the ceiling to the other, sometimes seeming to follow the louder thumps... their food. They would occasionally scratch at the sliding glass door appearing to visit their flatmates, the whole family. By this point Ivelisse tried to assure herself she wasn't imaging this all.

The original tenants of the apartment began to loose sleep over the ruckus, deciding to call pest control to move the nest to another location and inclose the patio with screen in order to avoid more squatters. The team came in, removed the family placing metal sponges on the doorways, discovering more holes and blocking them with different barriers, plastic sheets, plastering up the wall, inclosing the patio and finishing it up by placing four electric irritants that let out an annoying sound inaudible to humans that the squirrels would want to avoid. They left pleased with their work.

Less than an hour after their departure Ivelisse heard faint whining coming from the above. As the hour passed the whining progressed. She called her husband, "They left one up there. She's going to come back for her, we can't let her die up there." By the time my cousin came home from work the resolved mother had broken the newly installed screen found her way to the once opening where she clawed desperately at the materials blocking her from her baby. My cousin set the irritants higher in order to scare her off. She left for a little bit and returned more driven. During the night, the humans heard the desperate whining and the determined mother. Finally the couple couldn't any longer. My cousin turned on the lights went to the patio and began to undo the handy work of the pest control team, assisting the headstrong mother.

He dug through the plaster, pulled out the plastic sheet and the metal sponge and gave way for the mother to find her young. Ivelisse disconnected the irritant and the pair went to sleep. By morning the whining ceased along with the sound of grating plaster.

The human family was left with a screened patio with a hole in it, two plastered areas of the wall, and a deeper hole in one, but with an incredible admiration for the bond between a mother and her offspring, no matter the species.

I went to the park today with a friend and her two daughters. I left with an incredible admiration for the bond between a mother and her offspring.

With you,

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