The Desire to Do No Harm

The owl is hooting outside, and I’m glad to hear him, as I always am, but especially today as I’ve been worried that Tuesday’s activities at my house might have thrown off the nearby wildlife.

I finally pulled the trigger and had a team of tree trimmers take care of the dead branches on several oak trees, eliminate a branch that hung over my garden and blocked the sun, trim three trees that were growing and rubbing against each other, and completely eliminate two black locust trees, one in my front yard and one behind the house.

Beside the cost of this endeavor, it has taken me so long to follow through with this task because wrapping my mind around finding the right tree trimming company, making the phone calls, getting the estimates, making the decision and setting up the appointment are all the kind of tasks that I struggle with. Not to mention the guilt.

I hate taking down anything that still has some life in it and that provides a home for wild critters. There are two squirrels that frequent my front tree and run in and out of the laughing face opening.

I was afraid the squirrels wouldn’t be able to find a good warm alternative residence this late in the season. Yet, it would be worse to wait until Spring, when they have babies. I hope I keep seeing them at the bird feeder so I know they’re okay. Such a weird thing to wish for. Who else WANTS squirrels at their bird feeder?

(black locust thorns)

I knew I was perhaps a bit different in my concern with living things when, in the days that I had a housecleaner, I asked her not to clean out cobwebs in the basement or use her special spray that killed spiders. If only I had a photo of the look she gave me. This one is close…

I wonder how workers who clear out woods for utility lines and housing developments do it? The guy who owned the tree trimming service did try to comfort me by noting that there was an undisturbed squirrel nest in one of the oak trees that would make a good home.

What do some people call this kind of caring? Being overly sensitive? Being a tree hugging nut job?

Yeah, I’ve been called those things, plus having it pointed out to me that I’m impractical.  I always think there must be a choice that is good for everyone or at least not good for one group and really bad for another. And, damn it, if such a choice exists, I’m going to find it!

Yes, I’m glad to be a nut who put a monster snapping turtle on the floor of my vehicle because he was wandering in a parking lot and about to be hit by a car. I drove him a half block, closer to a river bank. I also swerve to avoid frogs hopping across the road if possible.

I am thankful that there are human beings who care “too much”. The people who work relentlessly to protect human rights and the environment. The angels who take care of people and animals who need help.

Some might say that such a degree of caring only leads to burn out and doesn’t do any good anyway. There’s just too much need out there. Better to just look out for yourself, after all, no one else will.

What kind of sad outlook is that?

What can seem like caring too much is to me what is minimally required to  realize the preciousness of life. It’s what’s needed to see how we are all connected together, which is what stops people from doing things without considering the effect on others. Just think of what the world would be like if everyone cared too much.

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  1. Ha… this made me laugh… years ago when my son was graduating, my mom came over to help me clean the house in preparation for our party… at one point I walked into the kitchen and said, “oh no, you killed George, my pet spider!!” (he had been living up in the corner for a while….) I think she gave me the same exact face! And I’m pretty sure she still thinks I’m crazy…

    I’m with you on this one!

    And I think those squirrels will adapt pretty quickly. 🙂

  2. Gosh, I’m glad you care. So many people don’t give a rip about habitat. I just next to someone in the bus who said they just moved WAY WAY OUT TO THE COUNTRY…and then asked if I knew how to get rid if deer? Geeeese, why move out to the country if you don’t want deer…weird. Anyway, making an attempt is better than not caring…and yes I think squirrels adapt pretty fast. (But make a temporary stick pile near your feeder while its cold…the birds LOVE it!)

  3. I’m just like you on this one, Maery! In the springtime, no one can do any work outside our house because I fear that the nesting birds will be upset…

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