I’ve mentioned before that small town life in a largely rural state means occasional encounters with Nature’s Rich Pageant, from the occasional groups of deer that wander into my yard from a nearby stand of woods to the birds that thud into my sliding glass doors and the squirrels, possums, and occasional raccoon that rouse the ire of the Hound of the Basketballs. Critters happen, and we’ve had a few cases of that over the last few days.
I finished my summer syllabi yesterday, and was rewarding myself with one of Jeremiah Healy’s Cuddy novels, when Mrs. M alerted the Spawn and me that we had a visitor at (or more precisely, on) our door.
He stuck around (sorry) for a bit, and then went back on his froggy way:
Which was nice enough. A little later, I was getting ready to take the garbage down to the curb (Things I wonder: Is garbage vs. trash a dialect marker, as with soda vs. pop vs. coke — or in my family, cold drink? Anyway…). I had stepped into the garage and was getting ready to step into my shoes (I tend to go shoeless in the house, so most of my shoes are just outside the garage door) when I caught some motion in my peripheral vision. I figured it was one of our local atrocities, the smokybrown cockroach (which the locals euphemize as “palmetto bug” — they’re endemic here, and we pay exterminators to sedate them enough to let us into our homes), so I grabbed the first pair of tennis shoes I could find and shook them like a Louis L’Amour character making sure his boots were scorpion-free.
Turns out it wasn’t a palmetto bug. It was a mouse, and it had actually ducked behind the very pair of shoes I had picked up. Startled, I uttered a large-caliber expletive and reared back, bumping into Mrs. M’s car. The mouse, meanwhile, ran straight up the brick wall of the garage. It (I wasn’t close enough to determine its sex, and we weren’t that well acquainted anyway) was pretty good sized for a mouse, with about two-plus inches of body and an inch-and-a-half of tail. All told, maybe about 2/3 the length of a dollar bill (Handy measuring hint: A dollar bill is 6.14 inches long.).
It sat there at the joint of the brick wall and the ceiling, peering down at me as I retreated to the trash can and walked the trash to the road. It remained in the same spot when I returned. “It’s okay,” I said. “You’re good enough for Robert Burns, you’re good enough for me.” I wonder if it knows the frog.
Moving from the micro to the macro, however, we’ve had a more impressive visitor in the area over the last couple of days.
After being seen on the outskirts of town over the last couple of days, the bear has been spotted at a local lake, and is presumed to have headed into the next county. All the same, I think I’ll settle for the possums.