Thursday, April 10, 2008
The mole that lives around my dumpster is a Common (Eastern) Mole (Scalopus aquaticus), who constructs a vast series of deep tunnels for living. One of the largest and strongest of moles, Common Mole is also the most adapted for life underground. With his bullet-shaped head, powerful muscles, and web-like claws, Common Mole is an earth miner swimming in search of earthworms. A prolific tunneller, He has his own exclusive burrow system of summer and winter tunnels. During cold weather, He uses the deeper tunnels for warmth. In warm weather, Common Mole constructs surface tunnels, which may include hornets’ nests (one of his favorite foods).
Eating hornets is something I never thought that a mole could do. For me, Common Mole is a powerful totem, since He transmutes poison into food. As a hunter of hornets, Common Mole protects those around Him.
Most people see Common Mole as a pest since He digs up their lawns. But people should welcome Common Mole, for He mixes and aerates the soil, provides tunnels for water to reach plant roots, and eats many destructive insects. Instead of cursing Common Mole, watch Him as He swims through your lawn, making it greener for the future.
Perhaps people can see this mole the way the Lakota (US) do – as a care taker of the earth. According to the Lakota, moles know the earth’s aches and pains. Being nearly blind, moles also see the world without bias.
In their underground world, moles are unseen and solitary. However like Mole of Kenneth Graham’s “The Wind in the Willows”, we can go outside of our comfort zone. Following brave Mole, we can come into the sunshine and make friends. We can be as fearless as Mole.
Forsyth, Adrian, “Mammals of North America”, Buffalo: Firefly Books, 1999.
Jones, David, “North American Wildlife”, Vancouver: White Cap Books, 2002.
Palmer, Jessica Dawn, “Animal Wisdom”, London: Element, 2001.