Freedom isn’t everything

A dead squirrel’s lesson teaches that freedom is the only thing

To the Expositor:

Life on Manitoulin Island in the winter can be an entertaining and sobering experience. Being so close to Mother Nature day after day in the harsh environment can reveal interesting truths.

Last winter my wife and I spent many mornings watching the birds at the feeder. The juncos, chickadees, blue jays and the regal cardinals all showed up for the sunflower seeds. Many hours were spent watching this ever-changing, beautiful scene.

Then one day, out of the blue, the monster appeared. Apparently squirrels like sunflower seeds too.

Tilly went berserk. “These damn squirrels are chasing away all the birds! Shoot them!” she screamed. These were serious marching orders.

But, as a young boy, since I shot and killed every small animal that crossed my path, I took a different course of action.

I drove to Williamson Hardware in Mindemoya and bought a Havaheart trap.

Amazingly we caught and released 14 squirrels in 15 days. We would immediately drive a few miles and turn each one loose.

On the 15th day we caught one as nighttime approached so I decided to put the trapped animal in the back of the pickup and release him the following day. Early the next morning when I went to the truck, to my dismay, I found the animal dead.

I wasn’t happy with my decision to delay the animal’s release, but I learned a very valuable lesson: poets who compose national anthems, men who die in battle against tyrants, and even squirrels know that freedom isn’t everything. 

Freedom is the only thing.

Tommy Lough