The Magical Mouse and the Grumpy Turtle Under My Peony Tree
It wasn’t so much that I was wondering what I was looking at. It was, after all, raining out, and, when it rains, magical things happen, especially in my garden. The plants come alive. They reach up to the sky and capture the raindrops as they fall, adorning their leaves with jewels that glisten in the light. And when it rains, I go outside. I put on my boots and rain jacket, grab my camera, protecting it from getting wet by leaning over it ever so slightly. And, I take a good long look at everything. The rain has a way of slowing me down, and in this process I see more, appreciate more, and feel more connected too. The rain magnifies the colors, making them rich and dark and dramatic, just the way I like them. So, it wasn’t particularly surprising to find the magical mouse and the grumpy turtle under my peony tree, but it was still special when I did, and it instantly made me smile.
This spring, the peony tree started to bloom, and I visited it more regularly to check in and tell it how beautiful it is. It really is a marvelous thing to see a peony bloom, from the first buds, to the final seed pods, each stage is really something to witness. And my peony tree is a rich, dark pink color. If its petals were made out of fabric, they would be the softest and most luxurious silk that I’ve ever seen. I would wrap myself in its fibers when I dressed up to go out for the evening, downtown, to a fancy play, feeling beautiful and filled with life. This color has the confidence of an explorer and the heart of someone who knows how to love deeply and passionately and unconditionally too.
My peony tree is a small, and a seemingly nondescript bush that wasn’t doing so well last year. I trimmed it back so it could put more energy into making new, healthy, fresh growth. And so, this year it had one bloom. One bloom that I relished and admired and came back to visit multiple times. Then, the petals of that bloom fell to the ground one on top of the other, exhausted from all the work shining and delighting anyone who had the pleasure of seeing it up above. After it fell is when I saw it, looking down at the bright colors, in the rain. I was not at all mistaken, there was indeed a magical mouse and a grumpy turtle under my peony tree.
Four of the peony petals formed the face of a small creature that looked like a mouse and that mouse was sitting on top of the grumpyist, oldest and most stately looking turtle I had ever seen. The turtle was sitting upright as if it was at a proper banquet listening to a long line of boring speakers talk about who knows what. The turtle was trying to stay awake and seemed just resigned to being there until the whole thing was over. And this turtle was a little irritated because, it had a mouse, a huge mouse, a bright pink mouse, on its head.
So, I started to think about it and decided that perhaps the turtle had a daughter who the turtle adored. And, this daughter told the turtle, “you have to wear the mouse hat! It’s all the rage these days and you look soooo good! Plus, it matches you perfectly! And you will be the envy of everyone else at the banquet!” And so, the turtle reluctantly agreed to wear the magical mouse hat, and, right before the turtle went out the door, it stuck a leaf feather in its cap. It was a flare of protest and normalcy amongst all the absurdity of the pomp and circumstance of the whole thing. It was a feather the turtle often wears in its other, non-mouse hats, you know, the ones that normal turtles who don’t attend banquets usually wear.
My grumpy turtle with the magical mouse on its head did not stay in my garden very long, it left, perhaps after the banquet was over. But while it was there, I winked at it every time I passed, smiling and saying, “I see you, grumpy turtle and magical mouse with a leaf feather in your cap!” The turtle would aptly say “Shhhh, child, I’m trying to pay attention to the banquet.” But I was not perturbed, it was a grumpy turtle after all, and that is just how grumpy turtles act. Then just as quickly as they came, the magical mouse and the grumpy turtle went on their way. I’m sure they visited other stories, in other times, in other books, before the turtle went home, took the magical mouse off its head and they both laid down for a good, long, and much needed nap.