Posted by: ktzefr | April 17, 2015

Of Mice and Freedom…

mouseMany years ago we lived in an old house with a crooked fireplace and an ancient, out-of-tune piano with a few notes that made no sound at all.  One day I opened the oven door and a mouse ran out.  We chased it through the house and finally caught it in a cardboard box. 

After dark we carried the box to the end of our street and set the mouse free.  We worried for a long time afterward, however, that we had turned it loose too close to the main road.

Over the years, we have saved other mice.  We’ve had to trap a few, too.  The time a mouse family set up housekeeping under the hood of my husband’s car cost us almost a thousand dollars in repairs.  The mechanic sent us a text with photo of the rather elaborate mouse mansion that circled the engine and wound round the wires and tubes, which the critters had chewed apart in various places as if following some elaborate mouse house blueprint.  Thus, the reason for all those flashing lights on the dashboard. 

Still, not too long ago we discovered a mouse in the basement and decided to rescue him.  So we took him to the park and set him free beneath a row of trees along the edge of the woods.  But it was raining and the mouse hesitated to leave the box.  Finally, he leaped out and into the tall wet weeds.  He seemed to be tiptoeing.  Lifted one foot, then the other, shook a wet leg.  Was he remembering his soft, dry condo in our basement couch, the only home he’d ever known?  He turned around and looked up at us as if we were scoundrels before hunkering down and disappearing beneath the wet ground cover. 

Freedom doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.

***The cute little mouse in the picture is not one of our mice, but rather the mouse from the cover of Bats Sing, Mice Giggle: The Surprising Science of Animals’ Inner Lives by Karen Shanor and Jagmeet Kanwal, a fascinating peek into the private lives of animals based on scientific research. 


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