[I wrote this as a church newsletter column in 2000. Enjoy. – PB]
A Mouse On A Cat On A Dog
After a lunch appointment one day last year in downtown Washington, DC, I walked around a corner and smack into this little street tableau:
A slightly grimy but very kindly man with a handsome black dog.
On top of the black dog, a brown striped tabby cat, imperious in expression and languorous in repose.
On top of the brown striped tabby cat, a white mouse, as dignified as a white mouse can manage to be.
All of the critters seemed a tiny bit uncomfortable but mostly gentle and self-respecting. If they minded being the center of attention they certainly didn’t show it, except for a brief moment when the cat leaped off the dog’s back to the pavement, groomed one paw, and then jumped back up to her furry perch (the mouse had to be helped back up).
“What’s going on here?” asked passersby, including a TV cameraman.
“I’m just trying to show that everyone can get along,” said the man.
The dog, the cat and the mouse seemed to nod in agreement.
People stopped to stare, suspicious, waiting for the punch line, the gimmick, the appeal for money. Their silence challenged the man, who shifted his feet and bit and said well yes, he would also like to encourage people to adopt animals from their local shelter.
A cranky young businessman appeared on the scene next to me. “What is THIS?” he scowled. “I think it’s something about world peace,” I replied. “What’s the catch?” he asked. “I don’t think there is one,” I answered, surprised by a lump in my throat. He rolled his eyes at me and hurried off.
But I stayed for a long while, just plain happy to be in the company of the three gentle animals and the gentle man. It worked. It worked as a metaphor, it worked as street theatre, it worked as worship, it worked as non-violent protest. A mouse on a cat on a dog. Simple; not at all easy. Just like world peace.
– Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein