While coffee is a truly lovely elixir to inspire morning alertness, there is truly no substitute for finding a rather rotund field mouse in one’s slipper to snap one awake in the morn.

This is precisely how my morning started. Lucky for the little fellow, I am slow-moving in the morning, and was tentatively guiding my toes into my slippers when I detected minute whiskers and fur in the toe box of my old house shoes.

I know what you’re thinking: this would have made a nice gift for Bubo, it being the day before St. Valentine’s Day and all, but I am a bit of a softy in the morning and I thought the little rodent deserved a fighting chance. This house, for countless years, has not been a home for a fierce and sardonic owl. How was the mouse to know that a new resident would like to use his whiskers for dental floss?

I collected him (in the slipper) and took him out to the fields and set him free. My, but he bounded over the snow quickly. I’m sure he’ll be back, this time as a snack in Bubo’s beak. But he deserves a breath of gorgeous northern air before that! (The air here truly is invigorating. Makes me feel eons younger and more energized!)

Which brings me to today’s word.

Septentrional is an adjective meaning, quite simply, northern. Pronounced thusly: sep-TEN-tree-uh-nuhl.

It hails from the Latin word septentriones, which is what some call the seven stars in the Great Bear (Ursa Major) constellation that appears in the northern sky. Septentriones actually means seven ploughing oxen and itself comes from the Latin septem forĀ seven plus triones for ploughing oxen.

Now that I abide in a septentrional home, away from the ambient light of the city, I expect I’ll be able to do quite a bit of star gazing.

Provided I keep my shoes clear of creatures.


Can you spot the mouse?

Can you spot the mouse?


Bounding towards freedom!

Bounding towards freedom!




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