One of the sweetest creatures I ever saw outdoors, was on a winter’s walk in a farmer’s woodlot just down the road. A blanket of warm snow had fallen during the night. It was melting underneath but was still piled up ankle-deep. I had slept soundly, woke early, and decided to start my day with a winter wonderland walk. The woods creatures were just beginning to wake up and move about. The ground was warm, the air was cool. As I walked along, I heard small rustlings, and I saw fresh little tracks here and there. I followed a dished deer path as I made my way between the trees. As I passed a snowy old stump I happened to glance down, and there tucked into the fortuitous hideaway of a broken knothole was a bright-eyed, carefree young mouse who had popped up, innocent and enjoying the break of dawn, just as I was. Oh, I hoped a hawk did not see that happy, tasty little morsel. One swoop and it could be gone from life. Then, “Hey, you.” the farmer’s wife was coatless in untied boots running after me. Not unkindly she told me not to walk in their woodlot as her husband and boys hunted there. I could get shot. Oh!
I once had a pet mouse, it was silver white with ruby colored eyes. I named it Ruby. When I tenderly held it I could feel its trembling, tenuous hold on life. A prey animal is usually not long for this world. To protect it, I hung its cage from a hook in the center of the ceiling, but my determined and athletic cat waited until I was at work, leapt up, crashed down the cage, and devoured my darling little Ruby.
Caption: An Ordinary Mouse In A Lucky Spot by Annmarie Throckmorton, 2017.
If you think the toes on this mouse are wonky,
check out the toes on a real mouse:
four in front, five in back.