Two orphaned and hairless baby squirrels

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Tiny arms intertwined with one another, the two orphaned baby squirrels lay sleeping. I gently disentangled the little girl for a feeding. So tiny they fit into one half of my hand, eyes tightly closed shut, delicate pink skin still unprotected by fur. The little boy stirred and started to protest, looking for his nest mate. They came from different mothers, different trees, in different neighborhoods, but probably blown out of their nests by the same ill wind that gusted fiercely a couple of weeks ago. Motherless, they found comfort in one another. When we got the little girl, she still had her umbilical cord attached. It was touch and go. At first she...

Mango

— 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...

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