Children, Mindfulness, Parenting

Of Mice and Mornings

visitor for bear door

Little holes in the bag of rice gave it away. Three and half years living in this place, and here was the first sign of uninvited guests. On our next trip to town, we stopped at the hardware store for traps. Despite Bug’s insistence that we buy the $39 ultrasonic pest repeller, I opted for Tomcat traps. A four-pack for four bucks.

We smeared on peanut butter and tucked it into the cabinet corner. The next morning, we heard a snap. Big brown eyes, white fuzzy belly, limp broken body. “Oh, he’s so cute,” Bug said sadly. Into the weekday rush we crammed this death. We shrank it down to fit. School, work, a morning meeting and already late. I dumped the trap, mouse and all, into the garbage. Another dab of peanut butter on a clean trap, and off we hustled into our overfull day.

On the drive to school, regret hit hard.

Continue reading “Of Mice and Mornings”

Outdoors

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

With two plastic bags for gloves, you make another grab for the beast. She is not even halfway across the blacktop. Cars roar past seeking the good parking spots.

The thing hops like a frog but has bone-snapping jaws. She is bigger than a beach ball and twice as slippery. Who knew such creatures still inhabited this place? 

She snarls and flaps her leathery mitts before twisting airborne out of your reach. The rain sheets down in the flash of your hazard lights. Her fury has backed her now to the curb — the wrong direction entirely. You go in again. Again.

You stopped for this. Without a poncho or a plan, you planted yourself between this creature and her ruin. Turtles are supposed to take the long view but this one must have decided to go rogue. Here you are pushing back that inevitable day when the only animals left are in pet stores and Aesop’s Fables, and your only reward is a thorough bruising

She was safe and you were gone before I had a chance to speak for her. For me too. It’s never enough but here it is: Thank you.

Poetry

Lunar Equinox

It is frost now, still
faltering between
chill blue knife and furred limb.

Moon meets sun in a garden of stars,
all visible in half-night. A red-tailed fox
skies across gunmetal dawn
feet never touching
the ground. Babies begin
in groaning belly
of robin, raccoon. A squirrel
squatting on the wrist of a high vine
scratches at the shell of last year’s seed. The bare end
of provisions before the next harvest means lean times
for a merciless brood.

The yield may suffice.
It may not.
The way to survive is to live as if both are true
at all times.

Remember: the equinox lasts
a single night. Each of us is on one side or the other
even if the lifting foot is only just clearing the line
even if the bottomless blue still saps any recollection
of fertility. By a hair each day, darkness falls away.
The crack in the ellipse
narrows, the coin tilts on its axis and slips
through. The first moon

of spring is a fat dubloon winging
across the frosted miles, casting off
as it turns the full gleam from the sun. It is only when you stand
just so and gaze just there that you can gauge its trajectory
and lift out your shirt
to collect what spills
over, such riches
only last through twilight and by dawn
you will be blind
again.