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The Quiet Surrender

I had declared war on our yard's inhabitants...namely CHIPMUNKS who had destroyed many a flower pot, basil plants and began cracking our concrete front porch. Enough was enough. With no natural predators to take care of this problem, I took on the mission the past few weeks, trapped fourteen of them and removed them ever so dilengently...well HH did, but I was his cheerleader.

However, one creature eluded me. Every morning, like clockwork, I'd step on our front porch only to find a new fresh pile of excrement to greet me. Obviously an animal was marking his territory, but for some reason our chipmunk trap ceased to work on this critter. It had to be some kind of other animal, as our trap was folly-proof.

Each morning my intensity to discover this creature grew. It became a slightly unhealthy irritation for me, I'll admit it. We got MICE traps to set on his marked spot hoping that the creature would fall victim to one of these more appropriate traps. No luck. It wasn't a mouse.

I made it my mission to discover what stubborn animal had claimed my front porch! I Googled all kinds of animal poo to try and decipher what trap would work best.

Perhaps the pile of dung represented a RAT marking his territory. We went out and bought a rat trap. Each morning, again I checked....had I caught the culprit animal? All the traps were sprung, no animal....and yes, you guessed it, a fresh pile of poo had once again graced the front porch.

As of the past few days, I gave up the hunt. Clearly, this animal was more clever to outwit me. I was ready to raise my white flag, put away all traps, and resign myself to a daily dung clean up out front.

However, it seems that the culprit animal too, was ready to give up the fight. This very morning, Thinker, came running and shouting for me, as it became her chore to examine the traps and see what clean up was necessary. She announced, "Mom! Mom! There's a SQUIRREL! There's a SQUIRREL!"

What? Clearly, she mistook a chipmunk for a squirrel, but to my surprise, she was correct. All the traps were sprung, but the animal wasn't trapped in any of them. A squirrel had made his place on my front porch, suffering, either ready to give birth or die in it's favorite marked spot. It sat up on all four legs, vomited several times, and then laid back down for it's final resting place. Clearly, she wasn't pregnant, death was coming quick.

After all my warrior talk...fighting the battle, winning the war on behalf of my plants and cracked concrete, seeing this animal struggle and succumb brought a lump to my throat. After all, I never wanted a animal to suffer, I only wanted a clean porch!

All the children gathered to watch the suffering. Just like passing a car crash, slowing to get a better view, the children had that same curiosity as just how a squirrel gives up it's life. Finally, I stated, we would let the squirrel die in peace without the gawking eyes of six passer-byers. We slowly closed the front door. We stood, gathered just inside for a quiet moment. There was an air of respect for such a clever little creature to have eluded me for weeks. While I felt the triumph of victory for the territorial battle, it was a bittersweet win.

It clearly raised its white flag, in a stunning revelation, like it was telling me, "See, see what you have done? You beat me. Now be faced with the reality. I will not shrink away in the night away from your vision. I will show you what victory looks like.....and sometimes, it's ugly."


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