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Monday, November 28, 2005

Singing Mice

A recent news bite came over the radio that scientists now believe
that male mice actually sing to attract the females.

They say the human ears don't ear it - but I would argue that perhaps it is just that most people are not taking time to listen. I have heard at least two mice sing.I didn't know they were singing to lady mice, I assumed they were just lolly-gagging during their morning, or perhaps soothing the stare of a barn cat. I have no scientific data to prove anything I write here, and I'm not trying to convert anyone to my way of thinking. The last thing I want is to put yet another blog out there that creates online blog-rage. Then again, perhaps one woman/artist/shepherd's blog observations about her fellow mice will not generate any rage - just disbelief and eye rolling.

Back to singing mice. I will tell you about one such episode I had with these small,tender creatures. Pépé the mouse spends most of his time under the Coastal Redwood trees near my studio. I assume the pickings are good, as their are many insects to find, plenty of cover from cats and hawks and owls. And I think the small bird and rodent cemetary there, established in 2004, gives Pépé a place to sit quitely and visit with his distant relatives Pédro and Juanita...Anyway, I was tending the cemetary, making sure the ground covers were not overtaking Tucker the Chinchilla's grave, when I heard a faint sound. It gradually grew louder until it was as if some distant car radio was left on in the upper hills above us...I continued working, and then heard some rustling of leaves, turned to see who or what had joined me - and there was Pépé [identifiable by the small chink in his left ear]. I greeted him, and he very still, as if waiting for me to continue my cemetary maintenance. His singing slowly returned,as I began working and as I grew closer to weeding around Pédro and Juanita's grave, it grew louder, until it finally turned into more of a dirge. I have no doubts in mind that this took place.

I have not seen Pépé for some time. It makes me wonder if perhaps he has died, or knew he was dying and came to me that day as a farwell, knowing I would bury him next to his kin, under his favorite Redwood trees.