This is how Cece cut her mangoPhoto by Sam Thomas A

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —

A timid knock sounded on my hotel door the night before I was to return home from a family wedding. I opened it and there stood Cece, a sweet little eleven-year-old with both hands outstretched, holding a large mango. “Here,” she said shyly. “This is for Teton Totem.” It was a beautiful mango. A large, round, beautifully-shaped, unblemished mango, perfectly ripe.

I had spoken to her earlier in the day about our animals—our bears in particular—and I said how Teton was a mango kind of bear. She was enchanted and asked a lot of questions. At lunch, there was an island in the center of the kitchen piled with fresh fruit. I watched, fascinated, as she walked over, took one of the mangoes and expertly prepared it to eat, opening it like a flower with little cubes of flesh ready to eat. I thought she was going to share it since she had put such care into its artistic preparation, but instead, she demolished the entire large mango herself. Rapidly. “Yes,” her grandmother said as we watched. “Cece loves mangoes.”

Cece had now given up a precious mango for a bear she had never met.

What a lovely child.

How could I not honor that?

I carefully packed the mango in my suitcase, lied to airport security, somehow got it through, brought it home, and gave it to Teton.

It was much appreciated.

Two images: A mango, and a bear eating a mango

Teton Totem enjoying Cece’s actual mango | Earthfire

The Fly

So I rescued a fly from honey, absurd as that must seem—and seems to me. I do everything I can to get rid of dozens of irritating late summer flies in the office. But when I saw this one struggling in the honey, my impulse was to fish it out and rinse it off. To my surprise, it tested its wings and was fine. A bit of a sugar high maybe, but off it flew. I don’t really know why I did it—perhaps some of you might have an explanation.

Raining Squirrels

It’s raining squirrels at Earthfire—three of them to be exact. Three different days, three different stories. One little girl was blown out of a nest, umbilical cord still attached, during high winds which likely destroyed the nest. One was found at the base of a tree, also after a windstorm, and when he could not be reunited with his parents, he was brought to us for care. The oldest was brought to us by way of a cat who brought it to its person. The little ones are very frail and we are doing the best we can to keep them healthy, including using herbal medicines for grief at the instruction of Caroline Ingraham, world renowned animal herbalist. The older one has been nicknamed ‘Velcro’ as she is generally attached at the mouth to the nipple whenever possible.

Hairless orphaned squirrel

Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.

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