Wednesday, June 8, 2011


My husband went to the shed to open a 25-lb. bag of potting soil yesterday. Only it was already opened. He poked around and found a nest with a deer mouse in it.

I thought maybe she chose that bag for a nest because the dirt was warm and soft. He said, no, the dirt was moist and cold. Probably not ideal, he thought, for newborn mice.

Hmmm. Guess it was all that little deer mouse had. I think the domestic violence shelter where I volunteer may be looked on that way by many women who have no other viable place to go.

The seriously battered woman has limited choices. She can stay where she is, but that option has already been tossed. She rarely has any money saved as she's often not allowed to work or her paycheck is taken away. So an apartment is out.

She could move in with her own family, except that she may have been forced to hide her painful life from them. She may not even have been able to stay in touch.

She could move in with inlaws if they weren't usually on the side of the batterer. Or she could move into a regular homeless shelter without security or a secret address.

So she may be left with what she considers a place of last resort: a domestic violence shelter. An unknown place filled with strangers who have the same problem as she does.

Not ideal. Cold, moist soil.

But if she's lucky and if she's ready, the soil does its work: nourishes, protects, and enriches her life.

Not ideal, but better than other alternatives.
And safe. Best of all, safe.

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