A story came to mind this morning when discussing rodents and their impact on our environment and the ecosystem…
I have always been an animal lover, and had many pets as a child. I had a hamster once that I named Chester. I invested most of my time before and after school tending to the (small) needs of this tiny creature. I had cherished him since we picked him up from the pet store.
One day, I got home from school and realized that Chester had escaped his cage. My Mom and I looked for hours, which turned into days, and then months. Shortly before this occurred, we had spotted a mouse scurrying about near the entrance way of where we lived … but no Chester … Two months went by of Chester being ‘lost’. I had come to terms with the fact that my beloved hamster was most likely dead, although I still kept hope that he would somehow turn up.
By this time, we were convinced that we caught the mouse we had seen in the entrance way but we were always wondering about where Chester had gone. We had an office with a heat register in the very corner. The register had a sort of bend in it before the long duct wrapped its way throughout the house.
One day my Mom noticed small shavings and droppings in a trail towards the heating vent. She took the metal vent casing off, and to our surprise, there was Chester. Through the months he was missing, he was tearing off small pieces of plants we had throughout the house to build himself a nest. I assumed he was also finding food, although I’m not sure where from, perhaps the plants were feeding and nesting him.
As I was sharing this story with a co-worker, she made the connection to resiliency and how survival basics play out. Some may think of these basics as ‘instincts’. Life shows us that in many ways and unanticipated situations, our capabilities which we may not even be aware of, can essentially save our lives.
After our conversation, I spent some time thinking about this concept. Street survival is similar in nature. People do what they need to do in order to survive, another day, another hour, another minute.
Thank you Chester for lesson learned!