Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

To Absolve the Gerbils

"I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate."
-Vincent van Gogh

"They ought to have known better," was Mater's claim regarding the recent escapade of the gerbils she was supposed to be looking after.
"But you left a door open!" I countered, defending those poor fellows as best I could.
Mater was insistent: "they should have known not to leave the cage."
I stood firm.
The gerbils had been sure of only a few things in their lives: food, water, each other, and the walls that enclosed them all.
Then Mater came along and took away one of their walls.
They did not suspect that they had entered a prohibited zone; did not, I wager, devote too much time to wondering about why and how their running space had all of a sudden expanded. They were carrying out their usual routine and all of a sudden found themselves astray between the imposing legs of gigantic furniture, their familiar plastic toys nowhere in sight. They left the remaining siblings behind in the second, secured cage; they were separated from family members that could not accompany them on the long, bewildering journey around the room.
Yes, Mater took away their walls, their sanctuary, obscured the rules and erased the boundaries they were forbidden to cross.
I started to take local buses recently, and I know all too well what it means to err, to miss one bramble-covered stop sign and find oneself in places unexpected and unplanned, stranded and confused, wondering how to get back again. And, quite unlike the gerbils, I do not have to do battle with enormous chairs and towering tables.


Barb said...

How interesting from a wee gerbils point of view. They must have been terrified. Barb

hele said...

What a beautiful way you have of writing about the everyday and the eternal all at once.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Barb, I'm sure they were, poor little things. And then to have enormous strangers chasing them around the room...

Hele, I feel like putting all your lovely comments in a journal and carrying it around with me when I need a lift. They are like tiny poems ;)

Ruth L.~ said...

Very poignant link from your lack of walls to the gerbals . . . and it makes so much sense.

Pappy said...

One thing I learned in thirty years of judging people's actions is - If you weren't there you don't really know. Mater may have been totally innocent. Those little gerbils may have been bred from a devious and dexterous variety capable of formulating a plan for escape and carrying it out. Deep in the night while Mater was fast asleep, they put their dexterous little paws through the bars of their enclosure and opened the door. We will never know. Pappy

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Ruth, well, It's so easy to get lost, isn't it. I felt bad for them, in new surroundings.

Texican, "the name's Bond, Gerbil Bond." That's what I thought of. You could well be right. But if that was the case, they would have opened the door of the other cage too and let their fellow-rascals out, then exited the room by means of tools and cleverness, and nobody would have found them.

Pappy said...

Well maybe they didn't like their dumber cousins. Pappy

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

But if I were a gerbil I'd have in fact let my dumber cousins go free so they could act as a decoy and distract Mater as she was chasing them while I ran out of the room.
But that's just me. You could be right ;)

Tam said...

Not sure about terrified. I think Crow (the black one so named because of his paranoid sense of urgency crows possess, not to mention him being black) enjoyed himself the most. Whiteboy just wanted to know how to get back in as he wasn't used to that unusual looking living room. (=

Whiteboy and Crow as babies

The gerblet's human parents. =P

Jaime said...

You are THE BEST story teller...ever.

That is all I have to say.


Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Pye, good picture! You'd know better about whether they were terrified. I would have been though ;)

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Jaime, and I just have to say Thank You! So there :)

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