Dear City Mouse
25 Oct, 2012 - Clare Halpine
Dear City Mouse,
I hope you are well. Things are, well, no, to be honest, things are not well here. I opened the glove compartment in the car this morning only to find everything shredded. Paper, money, Kleenex… everything. What kind of an animal would do such a thing? And last week, as I was peacefully eating my sandwich under a tree, Squirrel came by and rudely asked if I had any nuts. I’m sure it was an innocent inquiry, but, still, I felt a little uncomfortable. There’s something weird about him: always staring, rubbing his paws together, nervously twitching … I don’t know. Maybe I’m being unfair.
Anyway, People have these idyllic notions about the country. But, it’s not all log cabins and skinny love out here. Truthfully, both are somewhat rare. I hardly ever go for a stroll. Where? How? “Along the winding country road?” Pure fantasy. You mean the little bits of gravel sprinkled on the shoulder? If I have to leave the house, to stretch my legs or pop in on the neighbors, I make the sign of the cross and scurry as fast as I can—hoping to God the drivers will see me in my little orange hunting cap. But it’s just hit or miss.
What really makes me scratch my head, which I am told could be a sign of parasites—just what I need right now on top of everything else—is that you never read about these sorts of things in Town & Country. It’s all labor parties and grassroots initiatives. And sure, many hands make light work, and yes, it’s a beautiful day to work outdoors, but no, that doesn’t mean that weeding and planting and harvesting and washing and canning and lugging and scraping and painting and chopping and stacking and caulking and sealing and insulating and patching and drainage, always drainage, and bird trapping and fly swatting and every other kind of work that you can think of to be done is a fête en Seine.
Don’t get me wrong; there are certain perks to country life. The rope bridge in the nearby town is really something. And the mower is quite a ride. Wildly careening around the lawn, bending and swaying this way and that to avoid being toppled by the low hanging branches, I like to imagine it’s a game of polo.
Well, anyhow, although I complained earlier about the quaint portrayals of country life, I hope I haven’t painted too bleak a picture in contrast. I only meant to suggest an alternative narrative to outmoded fables. I don’t know that I would call it a “moral,” per se, but I guess I would add that a modest life with peace and quiet is better than a richly one with danger and strife [addendum: it is a moot point, as such a dichotomy is only mutually exclusive, fictively].
P.S. Have you ever heard of a thing called a whippier sniper? I don’t know if that’s the correct terminology, but that’s what spell-check seems to recognize… Anyway, the trim around the house appears to have been cleaned up, but all of my decorative rocks and shrubbery have been leveled.