True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Compact Life

In early September, in the house we call Greenestone,
a baby mouse tumbled out of a crack in the ceiling.

It bounced off the stove, 
and landed on the kitchen floor.

...rather horrifying to witness.

There was really nothing we could do for the little thing.
It was very young -- its eyes weren't even open.

We gently removed it and placed it outside in the bushes.

A few minutes later
another mouse baby fell.

Then another--

and another --

When it finally stopped raining mouses, we were very much relieved.

The next morning I found one of those little critters crawling on the path.  
I picked it up.
Its body was cold, 
but in my hands it soon warmed up.
I didn't have the means or ability to care for a baby mouse, but this little thing had survived the loss of its mother, a fall from the attic, and a cold night in the bushes.

I couldn't just leave it there.

One drop of cream on the end of a matchstick was the beginning.
The next drop filled her right up, and then she slept.

We didn't name her Dandelion.
We didn't name her Earl.

We didn't want to grow attached--- her survival seemed so unlikely.

We only called her "mouse baby".

Feeding got easier once she learned to lick.

But you know how messy toddlers can be---

a bath became a necessity.

The warmth of my hand put her right to sleep.

Caring for so delicate a creature was a real challenge.  
To keep her warm, I made her a little pouch to sleep in, 
and tucked it into the front of my shirt.

Sometimes she'd climb out and go exploring. 
I'd look down and find her clinging to my shirt like a little brooch. 

She had some adventuresome encounters with small fruits,

but really she preferred

simple warmth and safety.

When her teeth emerged, I became hopeful.  
I thought that if I could keep her healthy 
until she started eating solid foods, 
she would then nourish herself, and live a long mouse-life.

But one day she got a little sore spot on the bottom of this pretty little foot.
And the next day an infection set in.

Neither the care I could give her
nor her powerful will 
were enough.

The next day Mouse Baby died in my hand.

In the eight magical days that she spent with us, 
she taught us
about strength and fragility,
about hope, about comfort.

Thank you, Mouse Baby.


  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us!

  2. Such a beautiful story, wonderfully told! I had to get a hanky.....sweet mouse baby....

  3. Dear Lauren,
    That beautiful little mouse had 8 days filled with warmth and love thanks to you. You are an angel.

  4. What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. My first little hatched chick, Beatrix, died two days ago at 8 weeks. Even though she was with us for such a short time, she,too, filled our hearts with love. I look out at the shade tree where she sleeps and remember how fragile life is.

  5. I wish I hadn't read that, now I can't see my monitor. I am too soft hearted.


  6. How precious! Isn't it amazing how perspective can change the way we think about things? How could anyone not love that little baby mouse? Bless you for making her short life comfortable.

  7. What a story Lauren. You are a tender-hearted, animal lover. Thank you for caring for Mouse Baby, s/he had a good life.

  8. I can relate to this. My family was always trying to rescue little wild babies that would fall in our path - possums, rabbits, skunks, etc. More often than not, the baby would die because our care couldn't compare to its mother (or there was a reason it was abandoned in the first place), but it was always rewarding to try, and none of us could turn away.

    I love the photos.

  9. Awwww... atleast you gave here 8 wonderful days. That was sweet of you. I have a soft heart too when it comes to animals... wanna take care of them all.

  10. What a great story - Mouse baby's sweet little life was not wasted. Thanks for passing on this little gift to us.

  11. Oh, how heart breaking . I didn't think I could feel such sympathy for a little mouse. How kind you are to do such a great thing for such a small ,small creature.

  12. Very touching...I'm so sorry for your loss, especially after feeling so hopeful for her survival. Bless your heart.
    Bonnie Jo

  13. How beautiful.....
    Thank you for trying to keep Mouse Baby alive. It is an honourable deed to care for one of God's little creatures no matter how small and insignificant. Bless You, and thank you for sharing. Teary eyed now....

  14. that simple little story caught me completely off guard.....

    quite quite sweet....
    I take it , it will be a childrens book?????

  15. That was a sweet story. I know I shouldn't - but I have a thing for mice, so does our cat, she loves them! (No, does not eat them)
    Thank you for such a heartfelt post.

  16. Oh, sniff, sniff.....
    What a wonderful little story, I only wish baby mouse would have lived long enough to have been set free and ramble amongst the woodlands.
    I'm the same way with animals, I have to give it a try and save it's life even if I end up carrying it around in my shirt pocket all day.
    Your a good egg ;)

  17. I have come over from John's blog/Going Gently and I must say that I'm also touched by your kindness and compassion for this sweet little mouse. We had a young mouse in our barn that we turned out in the spring, and I've never forgotten about it, and I have so hoped that it found warmth and a new home. Your post has reminded me of how important all the "little things" are.

  18. oh my. I came over from John's.
    This was such a darling story.
    We raised five bird babies who fell out of a nest for about 7 days, feeding them every 3 hours. All five died and like you I was sad but thankful for all they taught us.

  19. I also came over from John's blog. That was such a sweet/sad story. Little mouse baby knew care and comfort for her short life. Thank you for giving her that.

  20. OK, back to tell you that I spent some time reading your blog. It is charming! Count me in as a new follower.

  21. I'm no fan of mice, having lived through several mice plagues in their millions, however, this simple story and its illustrations touched me. It deserves wider exposure!

  22. Hi, I too came over from John's blog.
    What a truly heartfelt story! Thanks so much for taking the time to document such a powerful and moving story about the simplest of creatures.

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  24. oh my..but what a chord you have struck...thanks!

  25. Oh Lauren, my heart is broken. What a precious little baby mouse! Maura from Lilac Cottage recommended I check you all out and I am so thankful that she did. She said our posts today were similar and they are, I think you would enjoy ours if you get a chance. So happy you had those eight days, how lucky Baby Mouse was to have you!! Sweet.
    Amy at Verde Farm

  26. Precious, precious story. Now I'm veklempt. So cool that you took pictures. RIP mouse baby.

  27. Just came over from Going Gently to read this post. I don't know what to say really, it's brought a lump to my throat, such a lovely story even though sad and beautiful, beautiful photographs.

  28. Oh my that was so sweet. and sad. I am sorry Mouse Baby didn't make it.

  29. Your story has made me cry....what a beautiful little baby and you gave her the most wonderful love and care...she was very lucky to have you..

  30. I can't remember when pictures and a story warmed my heart as much as this has! What a cute little creature and a real fighter. I'm sorry your care wasn't enough, but it was so good of you to try -- and also good of you to share this with us. I love your insight: I think you're so right that we become more attached to something after we name it. Thank you so much.

  31. My first chick hatched, Beatrix, died two days ago to 8 weeks. Although it has been with us for a short time, she also filled our hearts with love. I look at the shade tree where she sleeps and remember the fragility of life.

  32. I am so glad I read and am thankful for the work you do.

  33. In her short life she knew love and care well beyond what some experience in much longer lifetimes. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes.

  34. When I was a teen, my stepfather mowed open a mouse nest. I had raised baby pet rats, so attempted the same with these tiny mice. Mine developed some sort of gastric blockage, and their tiny bellies became hard and lumpy before they expired. Mice are so very fragile, but so endearing. Thank you for bringing back the very sweet memory of the baby mice.

  35. Oh how I loved that mouse baby. I wish it would have lived in your pocket forever. I love that you tried to nurture it. What a sweet, poignant story.

  36. In the eight magical days that she spent with us, she taught us about strength and fragility,about hope, about comfort.The mice are very fragile, but so endearing. Thank you for bringing sweet memories of mice.

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  37. What a touching story and what a huge heart you have! Your photos are amazing of this litle creature.

  38. I just found your blog and read it from start to finish. I loved it!! I love your way with words and your drawings and photos. You made me laugh and you brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for the wonderful blog.

  39. Just discovered your blog, and adore it! I loved this story, lessons can come at us from any angle, happy endings or sad.

    Be well ~Andrea~

  40. This is a wonderful story... So sad that she died though :( Still, you gave her the best love you could and she will take that to mousey heaven and tell her mom how sweet you were and how hard you tried :) Thanks for sharing :)

  41. that eight day story breaks my heart. you are a good person, and a wonderful writer and artist.

  42. The most beautiful story ever. Most people would run to phone to call *someone*... I love that for you it was a lesson (and opportunity) about strength, fragility, hope and comfort.

    Your words, photos and your sharing of your eight days with mouse baby is such a gift - thank you for sharing!

  43. I am not a fan of mice, who have lived many millions of plagues of mice, but this is a simple story and the pictures touched me.

  44. What is really at heart a story! Thank you very much for taking the time to document a powerful and moving story about the creature.

  45. This is real good story. I love this story. Mouse shown in this story is very cute.

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