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Squirrel!

Squirrels aren’t scavengers, but they may well be the most ubiquitous of urban animals (aside from pigeons). Especially in any city that has a few trees (and what city doesn’t have at least a few?), it’s hard to walk a block or two without seeing one of these little creatures scampering about at warp speed, collecting nuts in the autumn, chasing away other squirrels trying to steal their hoard, or on a breakneck pace in spring as they look for a mate.

 

I’ve found plenty of deceased squirrels while working in the park or walking from one place to another in my town.  The first I found last August while cleaning garbage up in the park:

 

To this day, I have no idea what killed it.  There wasn’t a single mark on him; he looked like he was sleeping. I bagged him up, brought him home, and buried him in my garden. As the flesh decays from the bones, it’ll add nutrients to the garden. When Spring comes round this year (about a month away), I’ll dig up the bones, wash them off, and then put them together in a little relic box with some acorns. The box will house his spirit, and I’ll keep it on the altar I’m building to the various animal spirits I’ve met along the way.

 

The second squirrel I found was really only part of a carcass.  I found it October 18th of last year, again in the park. By that time, the leaves had begun to fall from the trees, making pretty large piles that the squirrels dashed through madly as they collected food for the winter. The park employees were still required to cut the grass until the first snowfall, and I found squirrel #2 on a pile of leaves that had been cut to ribbons by the riding lawnmowers the park employees use.  I think he had been run over by one of them; all that was left was the head and the tail, linked together by a long strip of skin that ran along the spine.  It can’t have been an easy death, or a painless one, and I really hope that it was an accident, that the park worker just didn’t see him; the thought that the worker might have known the squirrel was there and ran over him on purpose, to be cruel, is a heart-wrenching one, though I know that there are indeed people out there who are cruel to animals for the fun of it.

 

WARNING: GRAPHIC PICTURES.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like squirrel #1, this guy is currently buried in my garden to deflesh the bones, awaiting the coming of Spring to find a gentler home with walnuts and acorns in a box on my altar. I’ll perform a cleansing ritual when I’ve unearthed him to settle his spirit and erase the trauma of the violent death he suffered; otherwise, I think he’d be so hurt spiritually by the way he died that it would be hard to have him around, much less to interact with him.

 

The third squirrel I have I found just six days later, on October 24th last year, while walking to a dentist’s appointment. I believe he had been hit by a car and his body knocked off the road and on to the sidewalk. After that, someone — most likely a kid — had clearly found his body and had some fun with it; there was a stick in his mouth and another across the flat middle of his body that indicated he’d been run over.  I came back for him after my dentist’s appointment and bagged him up, brought him home, and buried him.

WARNING: UNPLEASANT PICTURE.

 

 

 

 

 

Kids are often little savages, but given the state of the body (I had a forensics class in college), I feel pretty confident in saying that the way the body was messed with was post-mortem. I think it sad that a once-living creature could be defiled in such a way by someone who was probably bored and stupid, but I suppose I should be happy they didn’t cut it apart, right?

 

Again, I’ll do a ritual to cleanse him of the trauma of being hit by a car, then welcome him to his new  home on the altar.

 

Given the very many things I have buried in my garden right now, it looks like it’s going to be a busy Spring.

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