dear e.b. white, this morning i found this mouse “sleeping” in a boot print outside my barn and i thought, what would you, e.b. white, do with this mouse? (i mean other than bury it, or leave it for the neighbor’s cat to find, or write an obituary for stuart little?) up here in maine people do things with things, especially dead things. you always did. i thought i should find, on this first day of 2014, a life-affirming meaningfulness in the fate of this mouse that, were it not on its side, and motionless, and on land, looks like it’s swimming. i thought of you because you are buried a quarter mile from my house, and i visit your grave a lot, but not today. there was an ice storm recently and you are too far under. instead i freed my upturned dinghy from the snow and ice because my children were using it as a small sledding hill. i chipped at the dinghy like a hungover shackleton until i freed it. and then i took a picture of this mouse. i showed the picture to my husband who pronounced it ghoulish. but the mouse is swimming! i said. it’s an optimist! my husband disagreed. so other than a means of measuring our minor differences, my husband’s and mine, i don’t know what better to do with this mouse.