I left the radio off and woke to sounds of the night. I left the radio on the night before and woke to the news of Senator Kennedy's death. I would prefer the quiet. The absence of sad news. A silent acceptance - some zen thing to practice.
But instead I hear mice crawling on the cabin logs outside. I hope that's what I hear anyway. They are getting bolder. I imagine them whispering and flicking their turds at me as I read in the afternoon and one falls onto my book.
I'm reading Edward Abbey - old paperback editions of Monkey Wrench Gang, Journey Home, Desert Solitaire. From the preface of Solitaire:
Do not jump into your automobile next June and rush out to the Canyon country hoping to see some of that which I have attempted to evoke in these pages. In the first place, you can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you'll see something, maybe. Probably not.
In the second place most of what I write about in this book is already gone or going under fast. This is not a travel guide but an elegy. A memorial. You're holding a tombstone in your hands. A bloody rock. Don't drop it on your foot - throw it at something big and glassy. What do you have to lose?
And there are bats. A couple roost under the low-hanging front porch and I hear them screetchy-scratching by my head when I go in and out of the door. I poked at them with a broom and two flew off. I thought "flying mice!" before snapping to "bat."
I killed a mouse in a trap - tested it on my fingers first. I can say it is fast, not painless. I put peanut butter on the trigger and sprung it on my arthritic knuckles. My howling should have been a warning. But during the night the mouse climbed right into the laundry basket. I just couldn't deal with the mouse body and in a fit of cracker I tossed him onto the shed roof. Basket, trap and all. I feel guilty and will go up on a ladder to sweep him down for burial. If I fall just toss me back up there.