The Tiny Totem
This is a true story about the mystery of Nature and the power of spiritual totems to teach and inspire us.
One evening towards dusk, when the sunlight was still bright enough to see the bird feeder outside my window, I was surprised to see two cute, tiny, little, gray mice feeding on the bird crumbs. They seemed at peace with the world and each other.
The bird feeder is actually a three foot long, four inch wide platform nailed and glued atop a four foot tall, four inch round wooden fence post (it looks kind of like a diving board). So the mice, in order to get to the bird crumbs, had to come out of their mouse hole at the base of the barn, cross a two foot long, open stretch of ground, climb us the post and walk out the plank.
Well, the next thing I saw was two more mice, medium size, joining the first two tiny mice. And, if that wasn't enough, up comes a very big gray mouse whose tail was longer than its body and hung way over the side of the plank some six inches worth, or so it seemed to me.
I felt so thrilled at this precious, peaceful scene: five, gray, furry, bewhiskered, betailed creatures cooperating and collaborating on the narrow plank and seemingly enjoying, most heartily, their evening meal. Then for a moment I felt a pang of sadness...Lonely Little Me was wishing his family evening meals were as peaceful, cooperative and as snuggly warm and furry soft as the mice's- but they weren't, not by a long shot!
As I was watching this heartwarming scene, suddenly something startled the mice. I didn't hear or see anything unusual but the mice went ascurrying and fur, whiskers and tails went flying in all directions at once. The commotion broke my reverie but when I becalmed myself, I noticed, to my surprise, that one of the tiny, little mice was standing its ground. There on its haunches it was surveying the situation all by itself. Its nose was wriggling, its whiskers twitching and its black, beady eyes were lively and dancing about. Somehow or other this tiny mouse had an inner fortitude, a strength of character that allowed it not to panic like a frightened robot and run crazily with the pack. No! this little creature used its own good senses and after a minute of testing for safeness, it decided, all by itself, to go on and finish its meal. I watched in amazement at the peacefulness and calmness with which the tiny mouse ate. When it was finished, it walked confidently back across the plank, down the fence post, across the clearing and disappeared into the hole at the base of the barn. I imagined it searching out a dry, comfy, dark corner, settling down in a contented, furry little ball and drifting off to sleep and dreaming, heaven only knows what kind of dreams a brave little mouse would dream.
Wow! what a totem scene! what a blessing to have witnessed this maravelous happening. There I sat, a sixty-five year old man, who had just been taught and inspired by a tiny gray mouse, probably no older than a month or two. My heart was filled with gratitude. Surely, I thought, if a tiny mouse can break from the pack-mentality and rely on its own inner and outer senses and discern for itself whether it was safe or not, I should be able to do likewise. And, by golly, I vowed then and there to become more like that little mouse, for surely Nature sent it to be my teacher and friend, my spiritual friend.
© 2000 Tomius Strauss
Tomius Strauss sent the following message by e-mail along with the above story. I tried several times to reply in order to inform him that his little story had been accepted, but my mails were returned with the terse message that the recipient was not available. I hope he's all right and that he sees this. FTS
"I am retired, living on a small social security check (and rather comfortably, believe it or not). I don't own a computer and have limited knowledge of them. Nevertheless, I am able to use the ones at the public library -for free, no less - Thank god this tiny town has such a modern convenience.
Thank you for reviewing my submission.
Cordially, I am, Tomius"
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