Monday, March 30, 2015

The Mice of Life

It is 5:17AM on a bitter February morning and I should be sleeping. But, like too many nights, I am awake and hungry for a little pre-dawn breakfast. I set up my little work space with the comforting process I know so well. Small glass bowl, whisk, spoon, preheat the pan.  I make the usual - Pamela's pancakes soaked in some of the last drops of maple syrup Dad always bought for me. In fact, when I lived in Tennessee he would bring me a gallon once a year or so, as he knew that I love the dark amber sweetness.  This, he could do for me, and know I would love it all the way to turning the bottle upside down.  So, so good. I used to eat these little beauties and talk with Dad about life, as we so often did in the wee small hours. Tonight, I am alone with my thoughts.

I stoke the wood stove and gently puff the coals back to life enough to create a flame again.  It goes out. Rats!  Again, I patiently puff it back to life. It goes out again. *sigh* Okay, this is turning into a process, so I might as well sit up for a while with the damper wide open. 

It is one of my favorite times of the day - rather, night - to sit and contemplate, well, nothing. I just sit and look at my home, co-existing peacefully with the furniture. I turn on one dim light, waiting for the fire to provide a warmer glow.  Wait - what was THAT??!!  A tiny tail disappears under my couch. Uh-oh.  I have an unexpected guest, I see.  I become the hunter.

Well, not really the hunter, though I'd like to claim that.  Nope. Not me. I just sit and watch the poor little fellow, amused at what must surely be his horrified panic.  By now, in my mind, he is already dressed like the little mouse in The Aristocats and speaks with a delightful rasp, crying,  "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!" as he scampers about. In and out of our bathroom, under the couch, to the fireplace, behind the TV...ah hah! I see him no more.

I think I am smarter than he is and grab something to place over him, should I get close enough.  I am too nervous and step slowly. As if he would attack me, right? I laugh to myself,  "He really is cute."  It seems he found an escape, to be investigated further in the light of day, behind the bricks.  How clever.  How small yet insidious, that he could sneak into a place I could not see and wreak possible havoc in my toasty warm home.

This leaves me to ponder...what other "mice" lurk about in my life unseen, until stillness and peace have a moment to breathe?  It's not like I have many of those moments these days working full-time while being a wife and Mom.  I silently vow to make more of them, as I suspect they will prove fruitful. These mice, left untended, can do far too much damage.  

Songs need room to breathe before they show themselves. Poems need a bit of, what is it my friend Marla calls it? Margin. She says we all need a little margin in our life to be comfortable. So true.  A clean border to see the beauty in a space - of time, of life, within a room - margin. I promise myself, in that moment of peace, to make more of that.  

Maybe then, I can evict some not-so-cute mice to see the beauty all around me, and perhaps even within me, more clearly.      


  1. Interesting his "margin" you speak of... I will seek it out. Loving the written word and stories you dear friend. I miss you - more margin would allow us time to drink wine and take in some sun. Love you

  2. Yes. We need to evict the mice.