LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
by Elle Gilleland
Who is Alvin? Alvin is a squirrel, a baby squirrel. He fell out of a tree with three other squirrels. One is with its mom (we don’t know if it survived) and the other two, Simon and Eleanor, didn’t make it. We nursed Alvin the best we could, but to no avail. He died this morning.
I don’t know why he died, but I do have some theories. Maybe he was hurt worse in the fall than we realized. Perhaps he just needed a mother squirrel, like people need human mothers.
In the week we had Alvin we grew to love him very much. He was really cute and innocent. We loved how he was attracted to warmth like a human is. It makes me think, maybe he didn’t need a mother squirrel, but instead, just a squirrel companion like how people need to be around other people. It was really fun to feed him because he would open up his tiny mouth and roll his tongue around to swallow.
We would sleep with Alvin in a box next to our beds and cuddle with him frequently. He spent most of his time asleep, as he was only a newborn. When he got hungry we would warm up milk like you would for a human baby and feed it to him with a syringe. I said how he loves heat, well, if he got too cold we would hook up a heater and put him in front of it. He would crawl way too close so we’d pull him back, but he’d just crawl up again! It became something of a game.
It kind of makes me feel philosophical. Like in the “Calvin and Hobbes” comic where they find the baby raccoon that dies over night. What Calvin says kind of sums up what I thought. Calvin wondered why God would take him away when he was so young and he also figured that you should live every day, every moment to its fullest, because you never know, it could be your last. Since you’re alive (and incredibly lucky to be) you should do something with your life. I don’t know why, but I’m sure God had a reason to take Alvin, Simon and Eleanor away. I figure that you should live life to its fullest and make it great. I also figure that you shouldn’t let tragedy ruin your life. Get over it and keep going.
Emma, Elle and Jacob Gilleland can be reached at email@example.com.