We have mice, little gray house mice and brown, white-footed field mice. We have big mice and little mice. One day we opened the door leading down to the garage and found two baby mice, blind and shivering, hunched down on the threshold. They were tiny and supple enough to flatten their bodies and squeeze under the tightly fitting doorjamb. As we opened the door, they scrambled back into a tiny hole in the doorframe. Mother mouse was probably out hunting, hunting in our kitchen right next door no doubt.
Evidence of mice greets us every morning in the kitchen, little mouse doots all over the place, in the sink and on the counters. We leave very little food out, but the mice still come. I had three little red chili peppers drying in a small bowl on the counter. One day I noticed that one of the peppers was missing. The next day all three were gone, taken by the mice. I wondered what kind of mice we really had. They like hot chili peppers?
We hear them running up the walls to the attic. We even hear them knocking things over up there, thumps and crashes that make it sound like more than just tiny mice. When our girls are visiting they see mice scurrying across the bathroom floor. I’ve plugged up the most apparent entryways, but the mice still get in. We feel bad about killing any creature, but we made an executive decision to put out traps. We justified this by saying we’d feed the dead mice to the crows, one creature giving its life so another might live. It seemed reasonable.
Every morning we’d find mice in the traps we’d set out. I’d apologize and thank the mice for giving their lives, and then put them out on an altar-like stone ledge in the front yard. Soon crows would arrive and take the mice. It was a system that seemed to be working, at least on the outside. But inside I began to feel bad. I noticed that I had a swollen gland in my neck. I’d notice it when I was reading, my head bent at a particular angle to my book.
The other day—the day Hurricane Sandy blew inland and rattled our windows and shook our house with gusts of wind—I had a sudden insight while standing at the kitchen sink. I realized I had to stop killing the mice. It wasn’t right. As the rain pelted the kitchen window over the sink, I suddenly knew that the swollen gland in my neck was due to this killing.
“I have to stop killing the mice,” I said to Chuck. “Even though I’ve justified the killing, saying that it’s necessary and that I’m feeding the crows in turn, it’s still wrong. I’m absorbing the energy of those dead mice. That’s why I have a swollen gland. It may sound pretty farfetched, but it’s been bothering me for a while now, and I knew it had something to do with something that wasn’t quite right, that something was bothering me on a deeper level. Now I see what it is.”
Last night, I didn’t set any traps. My decision felt right. I had forgotten about my swollen gland, but a little while ago I noticed that it’s completely gone. The message that came in on the storm rattled more than my windows. I got a much deeper appreciation for how we are affected by energy, if we care to investigate ourselves on a deeper level. It’s what Jeanne mentioned doing in her message on Monday, and although I didn’t consciously follow her missive, the storm itself led me to investigate and resolve an issue, as the energy of nature, the storm, awakened a deeper unrest inside me.
The mice came into the kitchen last night. I cleaned up their droppings this morning, but I feel no anger or animosity toward them. They are just doing what mice do.
Trying to be a better human,