Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Here’s something odd. I’m missing Rocky.
Somebody gave my sister a parakeet when she was in high school. We named him Sunny because he was yellow, and he was a great bird. Dad wasn’t such a fan, and I think Sunny knew it. When we let him out after supper, he would immediately fly to my father, poop on his shoulder, then fly to one of us. But when Sunny died, Dad took the cage into the garage. My mother at one point told me the story (since I was at college when it happened). Apparently, he was in the garage (where his workbench was) an inordinately long amount of time, so she decided to go check on him, He had completely disassembled the cage, and had his blowtorch out preparing to separate the bars. It was his way, apparently, of grieving.
Animals have a way to work their way into our hearts. As I write this, my cat, Star, is cleaning herself as she is leaning on my left side, cramping my arm and making it difficult (and a little painful) to type this, but I would never bother her. My two friends, Sir Purrsalot (a male orange tabby) and Bella (a black female dog, ¾ lab and ¼ German Shepherd) died years ago, and they still visit me in my dreams. Well, Bella does. It’s not so common for Purrsy to stop in, but that’s a cat for you. I miss them every day, even with Star here today. And Star is her own cat. I knew she would be very different from Purrsy. I never expected her to replace Purrsy, but I love her every bit as much. Star is such a great little love.
Rocky surprised me. He was as cute as any critter I’ve ever seen. Small, clean, with the biggest brightest eyes I’ve ever seen. Seriously, he could have put Manga artists to shame. When I found him in my humane trap, it was bitterly cold. I certainly couldn’t have let him out to freeze or starve to death. If he were captured and eaten by Star, I wouldn’t have minded. At least that would be natural, but to snap his neck in a trap is unnatural, and to put him out to freeze would have been no different. So, I got a little cage (my regular readers know this part), food, water, and put him up in his rodent motel for a brief time with the intention of letting him go when the weather broke.
And it did.
A few days ago, I let Rocky loose. That tiny little big eyed heart stealer didn’t do much when he was here. There was a hidey hole in his room, and he slept throughout the day in there. I would hear him playing with the bars at night, and he apparently would eat the little cheese and meat treats I left him that he ignored during the day. He never seemed to do much of anything but sleep when we were around, which I take to mean that he truly was a wild field mouse, as opposed to a lost pet. I worried about that because I never caught any more mice. Apparently, he was a tough little loner.
Here’s the part that blows my mind. I miss the little guy. He’s where he belongs, and when you truly love something you have to be willing to let it go, but it’s so difficult. I find myself hoping that he’s safe and finding his way through the big bad field where he was released.
Isn’t it odd that this little critter, that rarely interacted with us and never did trust us, still managed to work his way into my heart? I’m sure I’m just far too tender. To be honest, I kind of feel stupid. How many people, do you suppose, would actually adopt a field mouse to keep it safe until the weather is better? I know that this is not normal. I was raised in a traditional Germanic manner, to suppress my feelings and never ask for help, and never feel. But I failed.
Well, for what it’s worth, I hope he’s a happy little field mouse, finding friends and maybe a little girlfriend. Or boyfriend. Or whatever it is that he wants. And I know he’ll be in my heart for years to come, but never again will I know his journey. I hope I set him on the right track, but now his life is his own.