Monday, April 5, 2010

Cute as a mouse's ear

Last night, I was telling an Easter gathering of friends and family a story about finding little Miss Mouse in our barbeque the night before. She had built a warm, soft, little nest out of Callie-dog fur, chewed bits of birch bark and paper. The fur had been expertly teased into useful shape, like a spinner preparing wool for the wheel, and the bits of bark woven in for support.

(I know there are hundreds of wonderful photographer friends who could have made this
nest look like a work of art, but I'm not one of them!)

I talked glowingly about her endearing big mouse ears, black eyes, twitching nose and long wiskers (sorry, she wouldn't stay still for a photo). I felt terrible evicting her...she had taken such time to prepare her home, was probably now on the lookout for a mate and ready to start a family. I hoped she wasn't pregnant already.

Even after I removed the nest and placed it in a sheltered spot close by, thinking she might drag it somewhere else or at least use the building materials for another, she seemed reluctant to leave. I saw this as another sign that she was female. I gently prodded her and eventually she made her escape. Suffice to say, I was feeling rather like the wicked witch of the north.

At this point in the story, one of the guests looked at me with a small smile. "What does it take to learn mouse psychology?" he teased.

I stopped and thought a moment. "Surprisingly," I said, "it isn't that big a leap."

I think Words have led me into mouse psychology...When I began writing, I became more aware of the nature of my surroundings. The reason for things. I take in details, make connections, look for the obscure. This has been the greatest gift my writing has brought me. It allowed me to resurrect my childhood curiousity. To look outward, seek patterns and threads, then to use my imagination to weave the details into stories.

I'm not nearly as far along as I want to be - I'm certainly not always right (maybe she was a he), but every day brings new sights and sounds and smells...and new ways to express them.


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