This is a message to my creature-loving friend, Chanda, describing why I had to break off our phone conversation and run for my cats Pearly and Twitch:
THEY had a little mouse between them, maybe 1 ½ inches long. I got it before and between my feet and edged it to a big plant by a tree trunk, keeping the two cats behind me and to the side. The cats split up and kept trying to approach the mouse. When they were both a few yards away, I got a bucket that was by the hay bales and turned the bucket upside down by the plant/tree trunk. The mouse would be safe under there if it got there. Who knows? Meanwhile, Baird finally heard the phone or got the messages and came busting out the kitchen door. He got Twitch and I cornered Pearly. He put a screaming Twitch in the house, came around the front to get Pearly, who hissed and growled as she was put in the house. Zeno, the old cat, is still outside but seems oblivious to any creature’s presence in the backyard. The huge frog must also be safe for now, since all attention is elsewhere. I feel we just fought at least a skirmish and won. I don’t really want mice in my house or yard, I just can’t let something be killed right in front of me. The frogs I do want. I’ve been protecting them since I bought this house. I used to carry them to the neighbors and put them by the underpinning of the neighbors’ porch. Now, I just get them close to our few piles of cuttings or in the thick vines. They move the vines though, and the cats sit watching, pounce.
NewsThe Universe Playing Strings, a novel, recently released by the University of New Mexico Press. For details visit R. M. Kinder.