The sounds of a cat and mouse game had awakened us in the part of morning that belongs to the night before, but they had subsided. We drifted back into our dreams.
At 6, with dawn lightening the gray skies slightly, we heard the hunt resume. I had to get up anyway, so I bumbled around looking for the sheet of cardboard and the plastic container we use to trap and release our little visitors.
The cats had driven the mouse into cover in our bedroom closet. I pulled things out until Bonnie dove in to start the rodent running. The two other cat s and I joined in the chase. We all scampered around, maneuvering it next to the bed.
As I herded the mouse with the cardboard and the little tub, it darted from under my attempts to contain it. But then it came back, looking up at me as if to say, "you're taking too long." It made direct eye contact for a long couple of seconds before it hopped onto my foot and crawled up inside my right pant leg. It moved calmly, without hesitation.
By the time I was sure it was in there, it had begun to climb at the same calm, steady pace. Since it seemed neither panicked nor aggressive, I figured any containment was good containment. I walked toward the back door with a strange, stiff-legged gait so I wouldn't tighten the fabric over it and scare it into doing something we would both regret.
A steady rain pattered down on the deck off the back of the house. I stepped out into it and hastily undid my pants. As smoothly as possible while balancing on one foot and then the other, disrobing in a November rain, I removed pants, socks and moccasins. I never felt or saw the mouse leave, but it was not in the garments I wore or carried when I went back into the house.
All this before my first cup of coffee.
Next mouse hunt I have to remember to tuck my pants into my socks.