The little mouse darted across the top of the three and a half foot high red brick wall which borders our back patio. I had seen the rodent the night before, and the night before that, scurrying across the top of that wall. I believe it was in July, or maybe early August, when I first encountered the small mammal. I knew I had to get rid of it before it found its way into the house.

I like to step out onto the back patio during the night in the Summer months. Sometimes you can see a lot at night, especially during a full moon. Long eerie moon shadows are cast by the trees and shrubs across the landscape when the moon is full. On the other hand, during a new moon, when the moon reflects no light, the landscape is so dark that you have to guess where the trees are. I love standing on the back patio on a Summer night, not so much for the sights, but for the sounds. I love to hear the tree frogs calling to each other. I love to look toward the upstairs bedroom window, knowing that Marilyn is asleep up there, safe and sound, dreaming her pretty dreams. I hear the katydids and I hear the toads and frogs at our small pond. I can see several of our neighbors houses, with lights in the windows going on and then going off. I wonder if the neighbors ever come outside at night, to hear the sounds, or are they busy putting their children to bed and making plans for the next day, maybe what to wear to work tomorrow, or what to do tomorrow. I never think about what to wear tomorrow, or what to do tomorrow. I just think about the tree frogs and the moon shadows and where they all came from. And why they are here, and why am I here, and where did it all come from. And on this night I was thinking about that little mouse running across the top of the red brick wall.

I know why the mouse was on the wall, I put seeds on that wall for the birds every day. The mouse was eating whatever seeds were left, and taking some seeds to a secret location, known only to him, for future consumption . I watched the mouse closely. The little critter would examine each seed, and then he would either eat it, or take it to his secret location, somewhere on the other side of the red brick wall. “I need to get rid of this mouse, before it gets into the house,” I said to myself. We have had several mice get into the basement and I did not want another one in the house, no way. I went inside to get a mousetrap. I baited the trap with peanut butter, that’s a great bait for mice - peanut butter, and set it on the red brick wall. Soon that mouse would be history.

I waited about four or five minutes and then the mouse showed up on the wall, I figured he would be caught in the trap in just a few seconds. This time the mouse was not alone, there was another mouse about two feet behind him. I could tell the mice apart because the new mouse’s back right foot was black, instead of the usual “mouse grey.” The mouse had a little friend, or was it his mate? I went inside and baited another trap, I baited it with peanut butter, mice cant resist peanut butter. Now there were two traps on the patio wall.

I watched the mice interact with each other on the red brick wall. They would seem to show each other the seeds they selected, and then either eat the seed or take it to the secret location., for future use.

As the mice got near the peanut butter baited traps they both raised their noses up slightly, sniffing the air, homing in on the peanut butter. They both started walking toward the traps, these mice that I had been watching were finally going to meet their demise. They would not ever be able to invade our basement like the other mice had done. The little critters were heading straight for the traps, I watched them, I knew I would soon be rid of them, I watched from the patio. Both mice were about three feet from the traps when I did it. I jumped toward them and yelled “Shoo, get out of here!”

I scared them away, I could not let them be caught in the traps. They were just doing what they do, looking for food. Just like I was just doing what I do. The two mice ran over the top of the wall and disappeared into the night. I saw them a few more evenings after that, and then they were gone. Maybe a cat or hawk or something got them, maybe an owl. Or maybe they found their way into the basement. We have mouse traps in the basement, baited with peanut butter, but we have never caught another mouse down there.

The next time I again stepped out onto the back patio, I heard the tree frogs calling, and I heard the katydids, and I saw the lights in the neighbors windows, neighbors getting ready for tomorrow. But I did not see any mice on the red brick wall, and I never did again. The moon shadows stretched across the gardens. I listened to the katydids, and to the tree frogs. I looked toward the upstairs bedroom window and smiled, knowing that Marilyn was asleep up there, dreaming her pretty dreams, that I hope will come true.