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    • sjwoo4 months ago

      A few months back, I was down in my basement and I saw a deer mouse on top of a large cardboard box. If you've ever encountered one of these tiny creatures, you know they are extremely timid. Most of the time you wouldn't even know they were ever there.

      But this one -- it stayed on top of that box and I couldn't believe its brazenness. Finally it actually ran into the box (its flaps were slightly open) when I approached it. I got a roll of packing tape and sealed it in, so I could get it out and then let it loose.

      This box was not too heavy, containing about twenty old LPs, but the box was unnecessarily big. So it was unwieldy to move, because I had to hug it. So a part of me was like, this box better not open up while I take it out.

      The box held. And I took it out back, and opened it, expecting the mouse to get the hell out of there -- but it wouldn't. So I kind of flipped it and kicked it, and its contents spilled out onto the fallen maple leaves. Finally, it did leave, and that's when I noticed these tiny, pink blobs among the record sleeves.

      There were three of them -- and they were so pink, the color of erasers. And amazingly enough, they were breathing. They looked nothing like mice; I have to believe they were just born like maybe just hours ago? So that's why that tiny mouse was making her stand -- she was their mother. I guess I don't know that for sure, but what else could it be?

      I placed a few leaves over the baby mice and left the box alone, hoping the mother would come back, but it was like five o'clock and it was cold. I can't imagine any of those babies survived, but I hope so. I admit, when I returned an hour later to retrieve the LPs, I didn't look. I just picked up my ancient New Order records and went back inside.

      • thorgalle
        Scribe
        4 months ago

        What a story! Conveys the surprise well.

      • DellwoodBarker
        Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
        4 months ago

        ✨🐁💓🐀💓🐭💓🐹✨

        I can't imagine any of those babies survived, but I hope so.

        I Join You In this!

        Beautiful story with an interpretive open-end. Thanks for sharing!

        Good Job 👏🏽

    • jeff
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      4 months ago

      I loved this article. I vividly remember the time I saw a huge, horrifyingly injured seagull in my back yard that must have been mauled by a cat. I really just wanted to pretend I hadn’t noticed it but I couldn’t let myself off the hook. Looking back I’m glad I decided to put it out of its misery and was able to do so swiftly.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScout
        4 months ago

        Remember when I accidentally killed the hermit crab? That was scarring.

        (How old were we, 10? Definitely too old for me to cry as much as I did.)

        • thorgalle
          Scribe
          4 months ago

          Confession time: I accidentally killed a dove a few years back. The poor creature decided to jump head-first under my front bicycle wheel (instead of away from it). Luckily that hit was enough to kill it.

          Interesting that we all have stories like discussed in the article.

          • bill
            Top reader of all timeScout
            4 months ago

            a dove? with a bicycle?! bizarre omen. that would have messed my day up for sure.

            • thorgalle
              Scribe
              4 months ago

              Yes... my day was messed up. It felt enormously un-vegan, which I oddly thought about at that time. Doves in cities generally seem to lose some of their natural wariness, become too bold and used to people feeding them. But even then, you wouldn’t expect a startled dove 50cm away, not in your pathway, to cross-fly into your pathway rather than away from it.

              I was also running late for a class, maybe the haste was partly to blame 😞

        • jeff
          Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
          4 months ago

          Yup! Also etched in my memory forever.

      • thorgalle
        Scribe
        4 months ago

        Appreciating ‘swiftly’ here. I’m puzzled by the author’s dad in the article, I don’t get how burying alive is even an option (but the also don’t want to be put in the situation to figure it out).

    • erica4 months ago

      I loved this article. I feel guilty about keeping my cat inside - he stares out the windows all day and rushes to attempt escape each time I open the door. I also felt guilty when I lived in a place that allowed me to let him outside because he's SUCH a hunter and always killing things (birds, rabbits, even snakes). The author is so empathetic toward animals - I wonder if South Africans are especially attuned to the animal world because their country is full of such amazing animals.

    • Jessica
      Scout
      4 months ago

      This article made me feel incredibly sad.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScout
        4 months ago

        ((Hugs)) Yes. There's a lot to be sad about, but also many reasons to be grateful for the small creatures, and reminders to love and cherish them. Small creatures are the best. My neighbor and I are raising some peeps and they make me so happy: peep

        • Jessica
          Scout
          4 months ago

          Bill!! This photo got a big AWW out of me. How exciting that you will see these little ones grow.

      • DellwoodBarker
        Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
        4 months ago

        🪶🪢💓🌻🌈 ((((( Hugs ))))) 🌈🌻💓🪢🪶

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScout
      4 months ago

      Ahhh. I loved this, a perfect right-before-bed read.

      A wise person recently said to me, "Feelin' down? Read about animals. Always works." It's so true.

    • DellwoodBarker
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      4 months ago

      Very touching, empathic and Real read.

      When even your best effort, and the best of your nature, is insufficient, it might be worse than nothing at all.

      These small animals take on all manner of roles within our lives. One rat might end up a cherished pet, its belly stroked as it lies within a palm. Another might become a “hero rat” who sniffs out land mines in Angola or tuberculosis in Tanzania. A third might even be sent into outer space for experiments in “microgravity.” Many more will die in research labs or have their necks snapped in traps within our homes. They are put in these various roles based on our whims alone. By our very caring, one rat becomes worthy of cherishing while all the others are granted no worth at all. As long as this is so, we keep ourselves safe within our contradictions.

      And this paragraph offered a few smiling laughs amidst a more melancholy read overall.

      Meanwhile one of these mice was loose in my flat. My cats were ricocheting around the furniture in constant pursuit. They crawled behind the bookshelves and sent half of the classics crashing to the floor. They clambered beneath the kitchen counters in predatory delirium. This was no ordinary mouse, though. This mouse was Jason Bourne, and it evaded them at every turn. Finally it found a place beneath the piano where it was truly unreachable. The cats’ constant vigil lasted for days, each relieving the other from duty, knowing their prey would eventually have to relent and venture out.