Dear readers, I wrote this post back in early May, but did not publish it. Was about to delete it, but sent it to a friend just for kicks before scrapping it. She loved it. She insisted it was a “keeper”. Thus, prepare yourselves if you choose to read on.
Yesterday proved a macabre, gruesome day. Please continue reading at your own discretion.
At least I have no photos to upset the digestion of your breakfast.
It started around 10:40 a.m. in the bird feeder. (Who done it? Mrs. Peacock in the bird feeder with a beak? A little humor for you “Clue” fans.)
A red squirrel, a pesky, delightful, charming little fella, performed amazing upside-down and backwards acrobatics to scale the summit into our bird feeder. Seriously, onlookers might cheer. The bushy sweetheart proceeded to munch sunflower seeds as juncos, finches, nuthatches and chickadees alighted.
Such a pastoral scene in the north woods on a drizzly May morning whence the snowbanks continued to recede!
(Prepare thyself. It now gets grizzly.)
The sweet darling little red squirrel turned to a neighboring sweet darling yellow finch and decapitated her. Bit off her head. Just like that. At 10:40 on a perfectly perfect north woods morning! Proceeded to eat that little bird as an accompaniment to the sunflower seeds. ATE THE FINCH! Who would have thought? It’s a squirrel-eat-bird world out there, folks.
Too shocking to even ponder!
Murder in the bird feeder.
Lest we judge that red squirrel too hastily, let me now relate the second macabre event that befell our Little House in the Big Woods.
I awoke at 1:40 a.m. to pounding, banging, racket, clatter, all sorts of hullabaloo in the kitchen.
Twas that crafty mouse, that little despicable creature, the one who has recently littered our silverware and knife and saran wrap drawers with tell-tale black droppings.
A death-trap sprang two previous nights in a row in an attempt to kill the evil creature carrying (I’m sure) the rodent-dropping Black Plague.
The crafty fella managed to avoid every attempt to cease his kitchen-maurauding ways. Until 1:40 a.m.
I tossed a wary leg out of bed and maneuvered to the kitchen. Opened the cupboard drawer to discover the sweetest little gray mouse–with a darling paw captured in the evil trap–crying, yes weeping, with fingers caught in the peanut butter between the jaws of the trap. (Editor’s note: No relation to the weeping baby robin in the last post.)
Outside it rained buckets. Should I release the baby, the sweetheart, the darling, drenching myself and perhaps allowing the crafty one to re-enter through some unknown hole in the cedar siding, to re-inhabit our home tomorrow night? What did the Universe want? What karmic action was required?
Or should I…? And, dear reader, this is the part where I become questionably more cruel than the squirrel who chomped off the finch head.
I grasped the struggling mouse and flushed the toilet.
Down he swirled, drowned, drowned, drowned.
Then I wept.
For the sweetness of life, for our sometimes intentional and unintentional cruelty, for the beauty and harshness of nature. Because life isn’t always la-de-da. (And, darn, part of me still wants it to be la-de-da!)
Life can break our hearts sometimes, can’t it?
The woods lie full of animals eating one another to survive, staking out territory, dying in the icy coldness of a long winter, scavenging against all odds to fully live.
Lately, I feel joy and grief together in my breast, humor and pain, sadness and delight–the growing recognition of the fullness of this world we inhabit. A world with life and death.
And am still astonished and grateful by the luck of being here to witness it, to delight in it even while a tear sometimes trickles down…