Friday, February 6, 2015

The Country Mouse

Two weeks ago I destroyed a home.

As I freed the old mower from the earth's icy clutches, two mice sprung out and bounded through the snow like miniature gazelles. It was a scene out of a children's story. They headed for the next mower, and then the next. I became the giant, hell-bent on recycling metal, tearing off plastic, draining molasses-like fluids in subzero temperatures. Fe fi fo fum, rrraurrgh! The two mice, hearts pounding 700 beats per minute, finally climbed a tree, pausing with wonder -who, what, is this monster?

But I am a sensitive monster, you know the kind, like Bumbles. After finding one of my large terra cotta pots had broken, I brought the clay round to the mower-shaped leaf and acorn patch in the snow and fashioned a structure roofed with a round basket. I do not know if they have returned, and hesitate to investigate lest the monster return. Yet, come spring, I will remove the hastily made structure.

There are mice, like the one above, in the garage and occasionally in the basement. Rex had stored innumerable things friendly to the woodland mice and we have been disposing of much of that. I like all the animals, but I do not want to compete with mice, they've all the dark hours to find ways into things and unlike the ordinary House Mouse, Deer Mouse Peromyscus maniculatus and the White-Footed Mouse Peromyscus leucopus do harbor certain diseases (Lyme, Hanta) that are rather off-putting.

Meanwhile, the garage is a safe place for them, away from the half-mile focus of Red-tailed Hawks, the nightly snacking of Coyotes and the occasional Red Fox, or any other predators that find mice a tasty morsel. And then, inside, there is the aging but agile hunter, one who is steadily gaining confidence in her new, larger queendom.

The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse, one of Aesop's Fables

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