Are you trying to do too many things at once and thereby scattering your energies? (Ted Andrews, Animal Speak)
The first time I wasn’t sure—there was a blur of movement where the foundation wall meets the floor joists. My eyes were focused on the television on the shelf below, playing my movie of the week as I walked on my treadmill. It was early in the morning, the basement lights low. I shook my head: It couldn’t have been. A minute later I flinched. This time there was no mistake. I saw the grey streak, long and low, scurrying along the top of the wall. A mouse. A mouse in MY house. A house, I reminded them as soon as I went upstairs and was confronted by the morning feed-me chorus, inhabited by four cats.
My lecture fell on unresponsive ears. Ten, Thirteen and Eighty-eight, as they emerged from their respective rooms, were far more sympathetic and outraged. Then the kittens played soccer with a cat toy; the older cats went off for their morning baths. The humans did our own scurrying as we got out the door for the day.
We were in the midst of true Iowa January cold. I thought maybe the overnight lows had driven the mouse inside. Given the mouse to feline ratio, I didn’t think he’d be there long. I certainly didn’t expect to see him again. But five days later as fog moved in and pushed the cold out, there he was at the top of the wall again.
I believe that the natural world sends us messages, if we’re willing to listen. Poet Carl Sandburg wrote about fog:
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Each year there seems to be dense fog in January, a reminder to look carefully, just at what you can see. Wait to consider the big picture until the fog lifts.
I looked up mouse totem. Mouse’s message is similar to fog. Metaphysical author Ted Andrews tells us what it means when a mouse shows up in your life:
… it’s either time to pay attention to details, or an indication that you cannot see the forest for the trees.… Mouse medicine can show you how to focus and pay attention to detail. It can show you how to attain the big things by working on the little things. Whenever mouse shows up there are lessons associated with attention.
Maybe the fog came in on little mouse feet or my mouse disappeared in a shroud of fog. Both mouse and fog are shape-shifters, agile and light. The mouse scurries with agility and has a keen ability to hear, but can only clearly see what directly in front of him.
Okay. Message received. Take a tighter focus, dwell in the details. Reimagine January as a transitional month, allowing the whole uneven year that was 2012 to be wrung out. Attend to the details and work slowly toward more organization of house, work and family—a whole month like that day after a vacation when you unpack and do laundry and consider the mail that has mounted up while you’ve been gone.
I may not yet have attended to all of the details nor gained the organization of home, studio and laptop that I should like, but rethinking January’s meaning made the wintry month a lot easier. New Year’s Day was not a resolution-centered beginning, but a buffer through which to move toward a life more squared away.
In spite of a day when the cats seemed nearly organized into a hunt that lasted into the evening, the mouse continues to make fleeting appearances.
The fog, though, lifted after two days and the full January moon made lacework in the sky. Now January has waned as well and with the new moon arrived the Chinese New Year on February 10. It’s another gift—natural world meets energy world in celebration. The calendar turn moved us into the Year of the Water Snake—a watchful energy. A snake coils and waits until the moment is right. I’m a Wood Snake, myself, and reading about the snake year I’m learning it’s a whole year of rebuilding, working on infrastructure, focusing on detail, and moving forward. Progress may be slow, because of attention to specifics, but it will be constant and goal-oriented. These are appealing forecasts to me—more time to bring mental focus and adventurous spirit to the journey ahead. More time for the snake to watch and strike when the opportunity is right. More time to allow for events to unfold and evolve rather than pushing or forcing into the future. But I’m a little restive about how much more time it’s going to take those cats to eradicate the mouse from the house.
Happy Chinese New Year. Happy Snow Moon. Wishing you light, joy, and an early spring, just as the groundhog predicted. Thanks for joining me, xoR