Wednesday, September 9, 2015


          How I Turned From A City Mouse To A Country Mouse

    Sirens wail, cars move over into the right lane, and life is in full throttle on California Avenue. My 
weekly visit to the city is hectic at 7:30 in the morning. Every Thursday I see my grandchildren.  But my first stop is to snag a table at the bakery, a little indulgence that I call an artist date. The 
display cases are full this morning. One by one the customers come in, rub their chins in bewilderment 
while wondering what delight they will order. Paper coffee cups pressed to their lips they converse 
in two word sentences. The words, "morning" and "hurry" escape from quiet conversations. If I lived 
in the condos above the bakery I think I might be here every day. But, I am not a city mouse. I arrived here by ferry, forty minutes over the water. I came to spend a few minutes observing and writing. I'll only be able to stay a while because the space is getting crowded and new customers are eyeing my table wondering if I will be leaving soon. I will.


"Goodbye", said the country mouse. "You do indeed live in a plentiful city, but I am going home, where I can enjoy my dinner in peace."

   At home I might be sitting in the garden, listening to an persistent bird wail. My company could be a
deer and her twin fawns. They are much too tame, hardly turning their heads when I come
into the yard. Traffic does pass by but it is predictable and often coincides with the ferry schedule. 
There are long pauses when everything is still. Breakfast goodies are limited here on this island. My 
favorite spot does not open until 9:00am and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays because they believe 
in days off. I always think of going on Monday. 

    When we first moved to the island the dark at night was fierce. The pitch black was so quiet and vastly different than the city. It took some adjustments. Now I wonder if I could ever get used to hundreds of people living around me. I can name the people on my street and tell you what they do during the day. 

Acres of land separate us from neighbors, giving us the feeling of living in the woods. What we lack in neighbors is made up for in the creature visitors. They can be irritating and sometimes downright trouble. Raccoons, squirrels, mice, hawks, an eagle now and then, and yes, unfortunately, rats. Ignoring the issues associated with pests is what I do best and sometimes they provide comedic relief to a busy day.

Why did we move to an island?  Because it seemed adventurous. We had friends who came a year earlier and we visited often. My first ferry ride had me sweating. Would I hit another car driving on the boat so close together? What if the boat went down? Do the boats come and go all day and night? What if I need to leave and there is no boat running? What about a Tsunami? Now Idays I forget entirely that I am surrounded by water. I like to drive by the water's edge to remind myself that I chose to live in a most beautiful place.

I am a country mouse who visits the city and writing about the decision to make the change from city life helps me appreciate what I have. I do feel grateful for my present circumstances.

"Learn to write about the ordinary. Give homage to old coffee cups, sparrows, city buses, thin ham sandwiches. Make a list of everything ordinary you can think of. Keep adding to it. Promise yourself before you leave the earth, to mention everything on your list at least once in a poem, short story, newspaper article."
Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg

I am joining fellow writers on Kate Motaung's blog who are doing a bi-weekly online discussion group.We are using On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits For A Writing Life That Lasts by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. I am personally reading Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg as inspiration.


  1. I love the Country Mouse and City Mouse! And you are so right... when we are taken outside of our element, writing can help us slow down long enough to see our blessings and find our home. Loved your words, here. Thank you!

  2. I loved your descriptions of the scenes in the city and the country- they really brought it to life and highlighted the contrast between the two completely different ways of life.

  3. A wonderful read here. You draw a distinct contrast and paint a beautiful word picture, making the everyday come alive.

  4. Your words paint such a gorgeous picture. Love the image of the country and city mouse.

  5. i love the concept of the city mouse and the country mouse. make me think of seattle and the islands around it. (my daughter lives near there.) it is truly beautiful!

  6. Absolutely loved everything about this post, Gabriele. I so love the way you write and particularly loved the fact that you ended on a note of gratitude. [I am definitely going to be taking myself off on a weekly artist date from now on: thank you for this idea!]


What do you think?