Country Mouse

This is the first of a short series of related posts.

scruffy girl on a horse

When I was very young, one of my favorite books was The Country Mouse and the City Mouse.  

I was very much aware of the fact that I was the country mouse in that equation.

There were twenty-nine houses in my zip code growing up. The town used to be bigger, but it was wedged between a state park and a military installation both of which nibbled away at the area.  Our village had a church, a post office, and a general store.  The general store eventually went out of business.

I climbed trees and I played in the mud, and I knew more about how to deal with horses and barn cats than I did other kids. I could entertain myself with foraging edible plants from the yard, or looking at bugs really close-up.

I was very confused by the lesson in first grade about crossing the street during traffic signals. I didn’t understand why pedestrians should only cross when the light was green for the cars zipping through.  I thought that sounded dangerous. I couldn’t comprehend looking at the other  traffic signal. It made no sense to me.  I was probably eight or nine years old before I had the occasion to be a pedestrian at a light, trying to cross the street.  I remember the lightbulb moment as understanding dawned, and I jogged to keep up with my mom in the crosswalk.

There were more of these moments, as the country mouse jogged to keep up with the world.

Even as a little girl, I knew how big the world was. I was entranced by my globe.  I understood that people spoke different languages, that there were different cultures.  I was rapt at the idea of space exploration.

When you spend a lot of time sprawled in the grass gazing at the sky, you get a pretty good idea of how small you are.

I remember mowing the lawn and weeding gardens, I remember picking pole beans and feeding the rabbits. I remember reading books while dangling from a tree limb. (My favorite climbing tree had 5 sittable limbs. The comfy branch, the high branch, the low branch, the slope branch and the danger branch. I read on the comfy branch or the high branch. No one sat on the danger branch because anytime anyone did, they fell out of the tree.)   I remember spending hours playing with imaginary friends in the speckled shade.

Sure, I got bored. Sure, like any kid, I pestered my mom to play with me.  I think it was her idea that I paint rocks and sell them as paperweights at a roadside stand. No lemonade for me, boy howdy. I sold rocks. The old slate roof on the building next door would sometimes chip and fall to the ground, we would scavenge those tiles and paint scenes on those – you know – as art.  Yup. Art.

I knew that there was a big world – a big universe – that I would get to explore.  After I outgrew my astronaut dreams, and just after I drifted away from Marine Biology, I daydreamed about having a tiny apartment in New York, making it at some career all on my own. I envisioned wearing chic suits and riding in taxis. (I rode in my first taxi when I was 17 and it scared the daylights out of me.)   I imagined myself being a jet-setting woman of the world.

I read about cities, and I understood them in theory. But I didn’t really experience any of them until my senior year of High School.

(Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next post: “City Mouse”)

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2 thoughts on “Country Mouse

  1. Pingback: City Mouse | A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

  2. Pingback: Not a Mouse | A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

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