From the window of my office tent I noticed Rio freeing a frog over the fence. He walked past Mouse’s grave, did a double take and started sobbing. He came running to me, tears and snot all over his face, body heaving, howling that he missed The Mouse.
We sat at his grave and chatted. Rio wanted to dig him up to play with him (because he said he missed playing with him) so I had to explain how he couldn’t because the skin and body decomposes and only the bones are left, so it wouldn’t be very nice if we dug him up. Rio had a litany of questions: “Why did he die if he was so little?”, “wont he be lonely?”, “how will he breathe?”, “wont he be sad?” so I had to stumble through an impromptu Life, The Universe and Everything chat, wishing that I had had a little more time to prepare a satisfactory story. I gave some vague answers about how his spirit has gone into the sky where he would be with other squirrels who love him and would look after him. I was glad he didn’t pick up on certain gaping ideological gaps in this story. I made an immediate mental not to formalize and solidify my views on this (something that I had been working on for 20 years but had largely put on the backburner) so I could at the very least offer his a cohesive philosophy. It is on my to do list.
We both had a good sob and decided a game drive would be a wonderful diversion in the circumstances. We didn’t see much but it was good to be out. I pointed out a Yellowbilled stork to Rio who thinks it is called an Old bald stork.
Rio is getting all grown up. Increasingly I am finding his interactions more mature. He is occasionally very sweet to Keita and this afternoon he was pushing her on the swing and helped her off. She loves it when he is nice to her and they were hugging and loving each other which was so great to see.