Mouse photo by George Shuklin
A small brown creature, probably a mouse, raced under a car in the right-hand lane and disappeared around the tires of the car in front of me. I watched carefully until it appeared on the other side, but then turned back and again scurried out of sight under the car. Flicking back and forth, my eyes quickly scanned the ground around the cars waiting, but I could not see the mouse. However, something else now drew my attention.
Crow photo by Atli Harðarson
A large black crow flew in and landed on a corner pole. Looking down at the street, it quickly lifted off and landed on the hanging traffic light, then flew across to the pole on the opposite corner. From the cock of its head and the frenzy of its flight, it was readily apparent that the crow saw the mouse. I now watched the crow, for it knew exactly where the mouse was.
Crow photo by DickDanielsWhether or not it knew the crow was there, the mouse had a problem. It had three choices:
It could return to where it had come from, racing under the cars, up the curb, and into the tall grass at the side of the road. There, among familiar haunts and runs, it would feel secure and might be relatively safe. But the crow would see it in the spaces between the cars and the cars could move at any time. Still, if it could make it, it would be home free.
Mouse photo by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos
The third option might seem to be the safest. It could stay where it was and huddle close under the edge of a tire, out of the sight, claws, and beak of the crow. Then again, when the light changed, as it would any second, its tiny life would end - with a squish and a crunch.
Crow photo by JJ Harrison
The crow - a hungry scavenger - also had choices, which it obviously was weighing carefully. If it flew down among the cars to try to snatch the mouse, it was at a definite disadvantage. If it waited for the mouse to make a move, in either direction, it could miss its chance completely. So it was either risk life and limb for a full belly or survive unscathed, but go hungry.
Crow photo by NebrotThe analogy here did not escape me. In many different ways we may consider taking a step backward, staying put, or boldly striking out in new directions. We all go through life needing to make choices, each choice having associated risks and rewards. While the risks might not be life-threatening, they can be terrifying none-the-less. Consider the mouse and crow, and then do what you feel you must.
Mouse photo courtesy of the National Park Service
And that particular scene that I witnessed? The light changed and we all drove off, leaving the unknown outcome in the dust...
Crow photo by Walter Siegmund
All picture files from Wikimedia Commons