The smell in the room had been lingering and actually getting stronger over the last several days. At first we thought it was some old food that was rotting in the garbage can. This afternoon my 7th grade colleague was writing her assignments up on the board when the aroma nearly knocked her over. She knew its source was nearby. By the time I came in the room to teach my class, she and her students had located the dead mouse. There were chairs set up marking the scene of the death like a crime scene investigation.
“Where is it?”
“In the bookshelf.”
In the bookshelf, indeed, tucked behind and between Nature Printing and Snow Falling on Cedars. How synchronistic and serendipitous is that? I know that when cats die they seek out a place where they will be left alone, isolated. At least that is what all our cats over the years have done. But this mouse, yes, this mouse, found the nearest books that had to do with nature for its headstone (and tailstone). I am sorry s/he couldn’t quite make it to the real outdoors but had to settle for the next best thing. Or perhaps the mouse was taking P.J. O’Rourke’s advice, “Always read something that will make you look good if you die.”
Ah, precocious and studious mouse, requiescat in pace.