Coexistence

Our mousetraps often spring in the night, catching hapless rodents intent on eating our oatmeal or the crumbs from dinner. It always wakes me up. I hate the whole process. We diligently search for the entry points and sometimes seem to stem the inward march, but their skeletons flex, delicate as bird bones. They seem to materialize out of thin air. We see the gray flash or hear the dreaded scamper, and another round of trap-setting begins.

Some skirt around the traps. Others nibble so delicately they’re able to take a few bites and execute a temporary getaway. Some are miserably caught by their tails and drag the trap around. Others die from a clean crack across the neck.

Outside, the cats and hawks are always ready for another meal, so I understand the motivation to find a way in; warm places to nest and tasty scraps to glean. But these comforts are brief and fatal.

“Brief and fatal,” God says with a nod.

“Well, hello, Mr. Echo,” I say. God’s presence doesn’t unsettle me so much anymore. Besides, I could use a distraction. I’m working on my Advanced Directives with a Dementia Addendum. I wave the sheets of paper at God. “Want to serve as my witness?”

“I am always and forever your witness, honey,” God says. “But my signature isn’t worth a plug nickel.”

I’m not sure what that idiom means, but I like it. It was a favorite of my mom’s. “You’re pretty funny,” I say.

“I know,” God says. I turn to give God a smile, and just then, we both hear the snap from under the bench. I flinch. God says in a voice laden with irony, “And another one bites the dust.”

I start toward the trap, but God gets there first. “I’ll take care of it for you,” God says. I open the door. Twilight floods in, a dark liquid that will eventually dissolve my feet. I try to be brave.

So, so gently, God lifts the twitching mouse.  Joins the twitching mouse.  Becomes the twitching mouse.

And I am the hapless witness, briefly bereft of my fatal comforts, wishing such infusions of wisdom didn’t take so long.

A host of earthly beings surround God’s body, now peacefully still in the garden. I put on my coat and boots and go out to lie down beside my fine-boned God. In the steel gray sky, an eagle circles, sharp-eyed and majestic. The wingspan alone is beyond comprehension.

4 thoughts on “Coexistence

  1. What a lovely, elegant story. And, this very morning I, too, am setting traps for a mouse or two, the sound of which at night scares my wife. Oh, I too am working on end-of-life paperwork. I don’t believe God’s promise a couple of years ago that I had 40 years awaiting me. She lies a lot, just to “just” mess with us!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I too really like the story of our co-existence with the fine boned mice getting caught in our traps and the way in which you have imagined our own inevitable deaths. Are you familiar with the writing of a comedian from the Catholic circle of human beings? John Roedel? He has written a rather funny and helpful book on the experience of us humans conversing with God, somewhat in the way that you do with your “Short Visits with an Honest God”. It is called “HeyGod!” “Hey John!” . If you do not know him, I commend him, somewhat the same way as I commend another Catholic comedian, Stephen Colbert.. Have a good day during this third week of Advent, 2020…Hope, Peace, Joy, Elizabeth Sherk in Toronto.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Elizabeth, I have a vague memory of John Roedel, but now I will definitely check him out. And of course, who doesn’t love and admire Colbert??? Thank you for your comments and for your support of my blog, and for grappling with this one wild and precious life!! Rita

      Liked by 1 person

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