I barely survived another winter, the water of Cold Water creek has broken free of the ice that bound her through the harsh days of Old Man Winter’s reign. With free flowing water and the warmth of Spring came all shades of green. School is out and I am on the run. The hunger pains in my stomach fade as the pads of my feet sink delicately into the cool moss growing along the banks of Cold Water creek. I scamper quickly across my favorite fallen tree which forms a slippery, yet adequate bridge across the creek.
Bare feet bouncing across the bridge nature has laid before me I pause for a moment to look up into the trees and sniff the fresh air as sunlight trickles gently between elegant branches, tickling my nose with early summer warmth. Tall maple, white birch and pine cast their reflection into the bubbling, spring-fed creek flowing below my feet. Sitting down I let the tips of my toes dangle into the cool water, feet curling with the sensation of ice cold water flowing between my toes. Within moments though my feet are happy and I smile as I watch young trout swim underneath the overhanging banks of Cold Water creek. I reach into the front pocket of my bibs and pull out a piece of official government cheese, its artificial flavor overwhelmed by the happiness of a full tummy. I’m a country mouse and I like it that way!
The songbirds in the park are singing and bouncing about with new families. I survived the cold winter and his attempt at knocking down my door. Snow falling, mom scolding me about turning the thermostat up and dad complaining about the government mousetrap. With nothing else to do but look out the window, I waited months for this moment. School is out and I am running down the street surrounded by my friends as we clamor to the corner store. With flip flops on our feet, it feels delightful not being confined to heavy winter boots anymore! Even the Cat on the corner was feeling quite jovial and tossed us a quarter as we slid into Sandy’s Market on the corner of Howard and Bosworth.
Our quarter buys us each a piece of Bazooka Joe bubble gum. Our fingers greedily open the little red, white and blue package of sugar goodness as we stumble over each other on the way out the door. We read our Bazooka comic to one another and laugh then jump onto our skateboards and skate down the street, jump the curb to the other side on our way to the park. The entire neighborhood is alive with laughter as my friends climb up the rope ladder to the top of castle and swiftly swing across the monkey bars. We chase each other around in the recycled rubber confines of the playground before sitting down on the concrete retaining wall along Lake Michigan. I’m a city mouse living in the concrete jungle and I like it that way!
The morning breeze fills my senses with the Ocean’s salty aroma. My tired little bones stretch as I look out over the horizon. The morning Sun comes to greet me with her warmth on my back as I nibble on my fresh pack of government cheese. I was raised a country mouse and traveled to the city. I have searched for food and love amongst golden meadows of the farm and along the sidewalks of the Magnificent Mile. The country taught me the brutality of nature and the absolute of life and death. In the city I discovered the absurdity of humanity and the ambiguous line between right and wrong. I discovered we are all alike regardless the region of origin only our perspectives differ. I am a traveling mouse and I like it that way!