Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Orphans of the storm

Last night's winds beneath our blown-off asphalt shingles left 16,000 Omahans in darkness, including those at Rancho Aksarbent, amid three felled power poles and various arbor-impaled domiciles.
     When we went out for batteries, we heard the shrieking of what we thought were abandoned baby birds, freaked out and hungry.
     Returning with a brighter headlamp, we noticed a dark, indeterminate lump on the white mesh of the picnic table, which turned out to be a nest, but no birds were nearby or wailing.
     Minutes later we incredulously pointed out our nest (beautifully made and obviously quite sturdy) to passerbys surveying the wreckage of the hood. As they passed, their headlamps revealed what had really happened.
     A stone cold adult female squirrel lay between a tree limb and concrete and, feet away in grass, two of her good-sized but barely stirring babies, no longer crying for her, or themselves, or for anyone's help.
     At least one seemed to be badly hurt (and twitching) though neither were bloody.
     AKSARBENT went down the street to borrow of cup of advice from the resident Mother Earth.
     Mother Earth was lying down, after having put out a burning utility pole next to her house with a fire extinguisher, in pouring rain, amid the sparks of misdirected electricity and fallen lines.
     Also, her rabbit pens were buried under foilage.
     She had her husband tell us to tell it to the Humane Society, which would give our number to the Squirrel Rescue people, who would probably call us in the morning.
     Put 'em in a box, she said. So we did.
     We laid their nest in a box, and the squirrels in the nest, across from each other, and the box in the bathroom, now off limits to the cat.
     Hours later, when we went to check on them, they had managed to move together, one covering the other. Both were still alive, so we quietly withdrew to the living room, where two candles are burning.

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