Caussey's Corner

Caussey’s Corner: Don’t Worry Honey—They are Both in Heaven Now!

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For about two miles, West Camp Wisdom Road in Dallas is lined with beautiful birch, elm, cedar, and live oak trees. Huge limbs hang like muscled warriors across the fence onto the road side. The road trails through some of the most wonderful array of multicolored foliage. Each year seasons are watched as each day is traced in colored patterns as the woods approach a new season. Afternoon shade and midday light provide for an abundance of animal and bird life.

One morning last week, as the new sun deer-lit her beams just beyond the eastern horizon, dropping golden nuggets of light across the forest rim, I made my way to an early college class. The night fog had mostly lifted, but had left scattered pools of whirling smoke along low dips on Camp Wisdom Road.

As the fog lifted, there appeared a small figure in the road seemingly clutching something lying prone on the pavement. Getting nearer, I realized it was a squirrel standing over the body of another squirrel that had probably been hit by a car.

The live squirrel appeared reluctant to leave the body of his dead comrade. At the last moment, he darted away. As I drove on past, I noticed the squirrel had returned to his dead friend, only to nearly get hit by a fast moving truck.

Caussey's Corner: Don’t Worry Honey—They are Both in Heaven Now!

Photo: @OlgaM. via Twenty20

About two hours later, I again drove down the tree-lined road. I saw the squirrel again in the road, lying next to his mate. But as I got closer, the squirrel jumped up and scampered to the side of the road. This time I got close enough to see it was a male squirrel. He had been lying by his mate as though comforting her or whispering to her with encouragement to get up and run with him.

“Please,” he must have said. “The road is too dangerous.”

For some time the male had refused to leave her side. Leaving her side only when danger approached. I thought about the love they must have had for one another. Was it instinct that kept him close, though she was dead? Or was it a higher calling? Some kind of feeling that humans pretend to solely understand, sacredly guarding the proposition that we are the only ones who harbinger the belief of understanding feelings. A knowledge that we and we alone among God’s creatures share in the most noble of acts. The ability to love another.

As shadows pursued the last of the rays falling through the daytime curtain, I began my nightly trek to the gym. The road was smooth, even soft through the forest. The previous night’s light rain had rendered the nightscape quiet, with only a passing car or lonely owl’s call to break apart the blackened solitude. My car headlamps picked up a small mound in the road. Instantly I could tell it was the squirrels. The male had apparently returned for a last time, and had chosen not to run. Or had he just fallen asleep. Maybe he could not bear to be alone in the dark without her.

Caussey's Corner: Don’t Worry Honey—They are Both in Heaven Now!

Photo: @Onelove7 via Twenty20

I stopped the car on the shoulder of the road and turned the emergency lights on and walked toward the mound of fur. I found the squirrels. The male lay on top as though trying to protect her. I wondered if he had heard the car, or if he had cared. Was he searching for her warmth as the car hit him? While separated in life they were joined together in death.

I buried them in a common grave near the fence line shadowed by a magnificent oak tree. Lights from passing cars allowed me to use a broken Coors beer bottle to dig their grave. I left the bottle in tombstone form as their epitaph.

Two vehicles stopped to see what was going on. Through a teary voice I told them the squirrel’s story. The man in the truck laughed and drove away. The older couple in the other car stood quietly until I had finished. Then the tiny, frail, white haired lady came close to me and patted me on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry Honey. They are both in heaven now.”

Durhl Caussey is a syndicated columnist who writes for this outlet, and may be reached here or at [email protected].