I have years of experience hatching and raising a variety of creatures. There is this little one:
And then there’s this one:
We usually do one of two things. After hatching, the animals are either surplussed to other facilities , or they are reared to adulthood and become a part of the program. I’ve entered uncharted waters this time around. For the first time ever, I’m preparing for a release directly into the wild.
My feelings are mixed. On the one hand, it’s incredibly exciting to know that I am potentially contributing to future generations. I’ve worked really hard, and it’s time. On the other hand, I’m having a hard time letting go. It’s impossible to raise a hatchling and watch it grow from glorified larva into something that can fend for itself without becoming too attached. To say I’m emotionally invested might just be the understatement of the year.
I knew what I was getting into when I signed on for the project. At least I thought I did. I read the books, talked to people who had done it themselves, read all the research. I knew my involvement would be time-limited. That’s the way it is supposed to be, the way it has always been. Keep them in captivity for too long and they don’t thrive the way they should. I knew that. I know that. But it’s hard.
The launch date is set, and as it looms ever closer, I worry. That’s just how I’m made. I worry, and I wonder. When facing release, there are so many questions. Will the hatchling find a safe place to go? Find food? Will she live alone, or will she wander until it finds another of her kind? Has she learned all that is necessary to survive and thrive? These are the normal questions, and sometimes we never learn the answers.
The most important question remains, the only one that really matters. Will she ever find her way back home?
I’ve never raised a human being to adult size before. Someone tell me what I’m supposed to do now. I am feeling a little lost.