I hadn't even made it to the door before the hawk had the squirrel once again. This time there was nothing I could do.
Over and over, I've told myself that it's just the circle of life. Nature doing what nature does. If it hadn't been that particular squirrel, it would've been another.
I can't stop thinking about that little squirrel after the hawk first released it, how it was then at my mercy and how terrified it must've been by this new creature it faced, the one that had been fierce enough to frighten a hawk. It pains me to think I didn't make the end of its life any better, only more drawn out. I might have given it another 10 minutes or so, but it was only more time to be frightened.
In a way, I wish I hadn't done what I did. Had I not intervened, it would've been over far more quickly for the squirrel. I hate myself for that.
I told some friends what happened. A few thought it was brave, but the consensus seemed to be it was dumb. Even worse, it had been pointless.
What I keep rolling back around to is that if you see something happening -- something awful -- shouldn't you try to help without assessing whether it might be pointless? Granted this was just a common tree rat we're talking about, but there are so many other similarly desperate -- and likely equally pointless -- situations:
A woman fleeing an abusive husband, even though she has a history of taking him back. A homeless person asking for a few dollars to buy a warm meal, even though you suspect it'll buy liquor instead. A child with suspicious bruises. Again.
It's easier to look the other way. It's certainly less messy. And it's not so difficult to convince yourself you couldn't have made a difference anyway. I tried to make a difference for one stupid squirrel and I failed. And only made things worse in the process.
I really wish I hadn't seen what I saw. It haunts me in a way I know I won't easily shake.
But I'm still not sure I wish I hadn't tried.
Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinful...@gmail.com.