Looking at Little Feet

The snowfall has revealed some unexpected traffic on my front porch. When I was checking Sparky’s progress on shoveling the driveway, I noticed foot prints on the porch. At first glance it was evident that a cat had slinked its way across the porch. Closer examinations showed where it had squeezed through the rail at the far end and hugging the house walked to the door. From there it cut across the door mat, down the single step, and then through the flower bed toward the garage. However the dainty cat paw prints were not the only ones there! There were some fairly large bird prints. I’m guessing a large crow or two. They took steps instead of doing the song bird hop. There were a few rabbit prints at the edge of the porch – just far enough to get out of the wind but not too close to the door. Rabbits seem to be much more wary than most of the other critters. I would have missed it entirely but there was a good chunk of snow missing from the railing. I thought at first that the wind had swept the accumulated snow off the top rail or that snow had fallen from my wind chime. I was wrong. It was obvious that a larger animal had danced on the railing. I can’t be certain but it looks like a raccoon hopped onto the rail and examined the wind chimes – possibly thinking it might be a bird feeder. On the other side of the garage from the porch, it was a veritable highway of animal tracks. I suspect that the pile of old wooden fence and assorted garden accessories (chicken wire and tomato cages) is housing a large colony of rabbits, chipmunks, and rodents. I really don’t mind as long as they don’t get any ideas about coming into the house!

Caught in a trap of wire and wood
Pinned and crushed it couldn’t move
The soft fur crumpled and red
Where the neck had snapped and it had bled
Eyes once bright and shiny black
Blinked and dimmed and closed to a crack
Shutting out the glare and light
Welcoming the eternal night
Stiff and cold the animation gone
A little mouse, a little life, a little song
The feet once dainty pink and frail
Now deaf ears, dead mouse, uncurled tail
Noise and nonsense echo here
People push and hurry near
The world rushes on unaware
That a little life had once been there

17 thoughts on “Looking at Little Feet

  1. Isn’t it interesting, those tracks revealing what we otherwise would not see? I think of Harry Potter and Hermoine covered in the invisibility cloak, completely forgetting they would leave tracks in the snow. Your elegy about the trapped mouse, a snuffed-out life, the world going on without noticing… a microcosmic metaphor for what occurs on our planet every day with small, poor, forgotten people. I have no mousetrap at my house, save for my cat. Peaches gets maybe 3 or 4 a year. Ginger, his predecessor, caught them frequently and laid her “gifts” to us on the door mat. I always felt bad that she killed things; we gave her plenty to eat, didn’t we? These are the closing lines of a poem I wrote about her:

    Though her bowl runneth over with Cat Chow and Fancy Feast
    She cannot deny the Huntress inside
    Triumphantly she carries home the spoils of her sport, making an offering
    I lament each tiny life but strive to acknowledge nature’s way

    To accept her for what she is
    Wild and beautiful and driven by instinct
    To understand that I cannot change her and should not wish to try

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is not possible to change the nature of another – be it man or beast. Humans are the only ones to consciously decide to alter their behavior and even so it is not always successful… I am willing to cut the animals some slack saying “cats will be cats” BUT I will not let it slide when someone excuses bad actions with “boys will be boys”!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would just as soon stay unaware of any rodent activity around my house. Like, I don’t know… flying squirrels in the attic… I mostly see rabbit tracks in the snow in my backyard.

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    1. Hehe! I am not worried about flying squirrels. Bats on the other hand do cause me some concern. I’m pretty sure that during the bathroom remodeling with the ceilings open to the attic if there had been a problem with any interlopers we would have found out in a hurry!!!

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