I wasn't sleeping because our rat Luna is sick. She's been through two operations to remove mammary tumors but this time it's something internal, and there's nothing we can do about it. I just hope she makes it until Maya comes home for spring break, that's ten days from now. I think she will; this morning she was perkier than the night before—a hopeful sign. She's a brave little rat.
As I was coming to accept the inevitable, I was watching a live cam of a hummingbird sitting on her eggs (http://phoebeallens.com). The most interesting thing, though, was the simultaneous live chat that was going on. Five-thousand people were on the site at one point, and I'd say for the most part, the chatters were complaining about the pace of the hatch. "It's taking so long, when's it going to happen?" they kept asking. Maybe they were young, maybe they hadn't been through childbirth, maybe they're/we're all too addicted to facebook and instant messaging and instant everything to have the patience to follow a hummingbird. But they'll/we'll figure it out soon enough: you can't force nature by clicking a mouse. Nature has it's own time frame, and it certainly isn't ours.
When I went to the web cam the next morning I found out the eggs had never hatched and probably weren't viable. But there it was, another thing nature was telling us, that death is part of it. That's what I keep telling myself anyway about Luna. She's had two good years with us and even though two years is short, it's the life span of a rat. During that time we've provided her with everything she's wanted: almonds, peanut butter on rice crackers, yogurt, lettuce and kale. Especially kale. She loves it cooked in olive oil and garlic. She was, and still is, a good rat. When Tom watches TV she sits beside him to keep him company; when I'm at the computer, she'll let me scratch her ears, making teeth chattering noises of delight. She greets me at the door at night when I come home from work. She starred in my video called RATZ the Movie, playing with a walnut and making the funny papers take off across the room like they had legs of their own.
It's hard to sleep when you know someone's sick or dying. I wonder if the hummingbird is sleeping and what she'll do with her eggs when she finds out they're not going to hatch.