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Suddenly I catch some movement out of the corner of my eye: it's a tiny little mouse!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2003

Moscow, Russian Federation

Of Mouse and Man

The best-laid plans...

I'm sitting at the desk in the office at the new temple in Moscow, when suddenly I catch some movement out of the corner of my eye: it's a tiny little mouse! It must have come up from the rooms being constructed downstairs.

The little creature does not notice me until I turn my big head, then it tries to swiftly turn and run back behind the desk — but the polished wooden floor is too slippery and its little feet claw desperately for traction, beating out a frantic tattoo on the glazed hardwood as it turns too swiftly, skids and falls over on its side (tiny feet still scrabbling!) before righting itself and scampering back to the relative safety of its hideaway under the heavy bookcase.

The mouse is determined to get by me: this scene plays itself out over and over again. I go back to my work; the mouse runs out; I involuntarily turn my head; the mouse falls over itself trying to scramble back to safety.

Although I will do it no harm, the mouse does not know that: why does it expose itself to such risk again and again? Like Robert Burns' little Mousie, its schemes have all gang agley. Its cozy home has been upset, its orderly life has been turned upside down by the carpenters in the basement: it risks its life to seek new shelter.

How often, like that mouse, I put myself in harm's way! How often I risk my life, my future! For what? To try to make a better life for myself in this world...

I have to try to get out of this horrible world of exploitation, where there is danger at every step (padam padam yad vipadam). Am I a man or a mouse? I should know better than to make all my plans to live here permanently...

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Layout by imonk — October 28th, 2003.