Summer in Washington state is an incredibly delightful time, bright warm sun in a panorama of pure green unlike anywhere else. Winters are another matter entirely, and it’s common for rain to fall daily for months on end, a 24 hour a day onslaught of endless gray and gloom. Frequently animals like raccoons, mice or squirrels will burrow into the walls and roofs of homes, trying to find a warm and dry place to nest.
And so it was one afternoon that the house cat suddenly and frantically charged across the living room into the corner, howling ferociously at something we couldn’t yet see. After clawing the object several times, the force of her strike threw it into the middle of the room- a small, gray mouse, now bleeding from its head, and trembling wildly in shock and pain. The cat, now sure of her catch, slowly strolled over and sat in front of the mouse, eyeing it menacingly, eager, as cats are fond of doing, to continue slowly torturing her victim. The mouse, realizing there was no possible escape, sat there trembling violently, staring directly into the cats eyes towering so high above him. Before we could move to save him, he suddenly pulled himself upright, stood on his back legs, and, shouting his death cry of “SCREEEE!!!” jumped as high as he could straight towards the cats face. The cat, of course, caught him in midair, and dispatched him with a crunch of her powerful jaws.
I think of the courage of that mouse, who decided, when the outcome was inescapable, to leave life under his own terms, without surrender, beaten down but unconquered, in the final and bravest deed of his life. When and if our own time comes let's remember that mouse, and go down with our heads held high...