First Steps

I live in a townhouse that backs onto woods with a stream. Usually every winter a mouse or two finds its way into my house. I decided long ago I could not handle snap traps, so I use live traps that hold mice until I can set them free.

I bought a few expensive traps/cages from a pest control company, and though in theory they should catch and hold a number of mice, I have not been able to catch a single mouse with them. Now I use cheap plastic traps which have been surprisingly effective. Unfortunately, the less expensive traps are so small that the mice cannot survive in them for very long, which completely defeats the purpose of having live traps.

I learned through a few regrettable experiments that the best way to save the mice is to transfer them from the cheap traps to the bigger, more expensive cages where they can live for a day or so. The problem is getting the mice to move from one to the other. Even though they will die in the small traps, the mice struggle to stay in them; I have to tap or lightly shake the small traps to get the mice out. Later, when I open the cage to release the mice in the woods, they refuse to leave, though the world is open to them. I usually need to upend the cage, though once I waited for fifteen minutes to see how long it would take a mouse to leave on its own.

The mice, of course, are attempting to protect themselves. They do not know the traps are unhealthy and at least for that moment they are safe. They struggle to stay in the security of a known place rather than move into the potentially dangerous unknown.

Just like the mice, it is easy to become accustomed to our circumstances and comfortable in the safety of our routines. Even if we are not in an ideal situation, we know what to expect, and it is often simpler to stay where we are rather than to make a change. Sometimes however, the world around us shifts and a change is forced upon us, whether we like it or not.

The unknown can be scary, but a little exciting too. With each step in a new direction there is the possibility of other new steps and more fresh opportunities. We just have to take or be pushed into making that first move.

With a new year beginning, is there something you have always wanted to try but have hesitated to take the first step? That step may be as simple as changing a hairstyle or signing up for a class. It also may be as challenging as changing jobs or moving. Taking that first step requires courage, but the entire world is out there waiting for you.

One thought on “First Steps

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