I shooed Bisou away from a mouse, neatly sliced in half by the mower, that she found on the driveway. Haying is not a vegetarian operation, and those big, fast machines wreak much havoc among the small, furry and defenceless. Gone are the days when Robert Burns had the leisure to apologize to a field mouse "for turning her up in her nest with his plough." But every year, when the big machines rumble up our driveway, I call to mind Burns's expression of regrets:
In this post-solstice season, after the warmest twelve months on record, we would do well to remember that we are earth born companions and fellow mortals of even the lowest, most timorous beastie, that our fates hang together, and that we should do all in our power to preserve "Nature's social union."I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An' fellow mortal!
On a more cheerful note, driving down Route 30 yesterday I saw a man mowing the verge...with a pair of Belgians. Is there anything more gorgeous, majestic and at the same time strangely cuddly than those honey-colored giants with their blond manes and tails?
I'm sure the horse-drawn mower had sharp blades, but I hope it was slow enough to give the wee sleekit beasties time, if not to save their nests, at least to save their skins.