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The pain passes,
but the beauty remains

Pierre Auguste Renoir















Stockton Dupres tried to reanimate the corpses of his comrades.
But his ability to bring back the dead was not working on them.
Perhaps there was something in the taxidermy process
that interfered with his procedure.

Exhausted and disheartened, he ordered his soldiers
to burn the hunter's home along with all contents.

That night, he could not eat or sleep,
for thinking on his poor old comrades.

They had disbanded in 1881, after a successful campaign
against the squirrel hunters.
He headed for Leadville, Colorado shortly thereafter.
If only he had remained another year, he obsessed.

And then his mind drifted to thoughts of Arbutus,
for she was the reason he left Kentucky.

Arbutus was her real squirrel name, as all squirrels name themselves
regardless of what humans decide to call them.
She had fallen from her nest when she was only a week old and it
was Colonel Blair's 13 year old son, Ben who found her.
If he had only been a few minutes later, the Mother would
have retrieved her back to the nest.

The boy and his Mother kept the baby alive on goat's milk.
When the squirrel became adventurous, his Father helped him
build a cage to put in front of the large window inside the boy's room.

Dupres first saw her in the window late one summer's day.
He watched from the black walnut tree that stood
in front of the house. Branches had been placed in her
cage and she was lying flat on one of them.
She was very small for her age, most likely because
of the inadequate diet the humans kept her on.
Her expression was sweet and whimsical. Her bright eyes
sparkled as she watched the things that she could not
touch outside the window.

He learned that the other squirrels considered her uppity
because she lived with humans.
But Dupres saw something else when he watched her.
He saw loneliness and longing in those sparkling eyes.



To be continued...



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