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  • Writer's pictureBecki Henderson-Gow

Mice and (Wo)men

We are now into the bare bones of fall, where the leaves that were so colorful just a few weeks ago, have dried, drifted and blown to parts unknown. The trees now display their bare limbs reaching up into the sky above. They have now transformed into something less flashy and yet still very beautiful, displaying a structure of incredible support for the weight they carry most of the year. I was struck with the beauty of the limbs of our big, old willow tree at the bottom of our driveway. I began to think about this old tree, which occasionally drops a limb into the driveway that inevitably needs to be moved before I can rush on to things I believe so important. This past week, I took a few moments to stare up into those twisting branches to wonder about the things this tree has endured and has yet persevered. How long will this tree continue to stretch and grow? Does it have years more to live on or is it nearing the end of its life? These questions are impossible to answer. yet they linger in my mind.

This past week, the weather turned colder at night and the chill stretches on into mid-morning. Bob and I enjoy our mornings waiting for things to warm up before we jump into our day. We have entered a time where our lives, often too busy, are slowing down to a more manageable pace, allowing us to linger over our coffee, while talking or reading. It is wonderful for me to experience this slower pace, to allow my body to rest and my mind to wander.

My mind often wanders to what some might classify as unusual thoughts. The latest wonderings have to do with mice. We live remotely, as some would say, way out there in the country surrounded by nature. It is a lovely place to live, but it does have some unfortunate consequences. Mice.....

The cold weather outside has sent these little creatures looking for a cozy, warm place to shelter. Staying outdoors is not their first choice. They are finding ways into the house. When we remodeled this old farmhouse, we did our best to "close it up" and "make it tight". It was a very necessary part of the process of rebuilding for a number of reasons. This one hundred plus year old house had little insulation and a number of small openings for creatures such as mice to squeeze in for the winter. We still have a few places that allow mice to enter. I know this because they are beginning to appear, one a night in the cabinet under the sink upstairs. Perhaps there are more than one a night, but I do know one is trapped each night. We have captured one a night for the past five nights. You might suggest a trap can only hold one mouse so that is why I am catching only one, but I have three traps set under that cabinet, just in case they decide to travel in packs. The interesting thing is that no matter where it is placed, the mice travel to the same trap every night.

As my mind will wander and wonder, I ask myself why are we catching only one? Today, I came up with this scenario. Mice are great explorers, looking for a better place to sleep each day. They are also out and about looking for food so they can survive. I imagine a group of mice getting together early each evening deciding who is going to go out to look for food. One is chosen to leave the comfort of home and venture out. Minnie finds the perfect "run"up the old pipes into the cabinet under the upstairs sink. (This is the one of the only areas we did not remodel.) A surprise is waiting......peanut peanut butter imported all the way from Santa Cruz, California. What a tasty treat! Then, sudden, life changes with a loud snap and poor Minnie is no more.

I image the pack of mice wondering where dear,

sweet Minnie has gone. Why did she not return? Many of the mice are worried and decide when night falls someone else must go in search for Minnie. They draw straws and the short one is chosen to go out to search for Minnie. This little creature follows the same path as Minnie and the end result is the same. This continues night after night, with Gertie looking for Sallie looking for Minnie and so on. I begin to wonder if mice have the capability to miss one another. Do they actually go out looking for those who do not return home? Are they simply looking for food and have no thoughts about other mice? Not having any scientific evidence, I tell myself they do have this capability to miss their friends and family and my scenario is precisely what is happening every night in this old house.

I encourage any and all of you to use the comments section of this blog to tell me your thoughts about my mouse theory. I know there is at least one scientist out there and I hope one of the doctors in the family will give me a scientific explanation of this strange mouse phenomena occurring in our home each night.

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