Reflection – Mice and other things

I have not devoted so much time before on thinking about mice. Yes, we had one indoors last year; he appears to have departed. However, we now appear to have at least two in the garden. They live under some ivy against the wall, just near the bird feeder. I like watching them, but they are quite close to the house. Dilemma: do I remove the feeder, and risk them coming in to look for food? If I leave them, will they multiply there? I guess I had not thought through the consequences of bringing the feeder close to the kitchen window.

I recently read how mice are threatening those spectacular seabirds, the Tristan albatrosses, because they are nibbling at the live nesting chicks on Gough Island in the mid-Atlantic. Mice arrived there decades ago on the ships of visitors, and with no predator, they multiplied. Now there is a complex programme afoot to eradicate them, before the birds become extinct. Marion Island, in the south Atlantic also has a mouse problem. To try and beat it, cats were introduced in 1949; they became wild and have decimated the bird life on this remote spot. Since the 1970’s these feral felines have been trapped, hunted and poisoned, yet they remain. As do the mice in the buildings of the weather station.

All of creation is finely balanced; only now are we really sitting up and taking notice. So what, one may say; why worry about mice in some remote island when we have a pandemic, when there are so many more important things on which to spend time and energy?

The thing is, you see, we are all part of God’s awesome creation. I may not, like St Francis, pray “praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun,” or “praised be You my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars” (The Canticle of the Creatures), yet if I am to be in a true relationship with God, with my father God, should I not try and look at the world through his eyes? The Bible continually refers to creation.

Ancient Palestine does not have the most awe-inspiring scenery, yet Jesus took refuge in the quiet tranquillity of the wilderness. It is an example we do well to follow. We too can find balm in spending time outdoors in these troubled times. In the undemanding peace of the garden, hillside or beach, God has created a sacred space in which, if we breathe deeply and take in the beauty around us, God will whisper.

In 1 Kings19, Elijah hears God in a whisper, and comes out of the cave to have a good heart-to-heart chat. That’s not necessarily what may happen to you and I, but I promise if you, God is with you. It may take many journeys into the garden, much time watching the little joys of God’s creation, to realise just how close he really is.

God bless you.

PS Mice are mentioned in the Bible: Leviticus 11:29 and 1 Samuel 6:4.

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