Some of you may have seen this news item about France having its knuckles rapped for neglecting one of its endangered animals – the Great Hamster of Alsace? If not, check the link. It’s a fascinating story.
I am enchanted. First, that there is such an animal and that it’s “greatness” means ii grows a whopping 10 inches long. It is terribly cute, with its black tummy and all, but it’s one of those running about little food varmints that hawks tend to pay more attention to than we do. Surprisingly, the cause of this wee endangered creature has made it all the way to the hallowed halls of the European Court of Justice, the highest court in Europe, a place normally reserved for testing of serious treaty violations.
This wee hammie ruled there. It warms the cockles, so it does. The image of a group of quarrelsome European countries, speaking all sorts of languages, having all sorts of belief systems and theories of life, working together to save a hamster – well, it gives me hope.
It’ something about caring for the smallest things. The things we don’t often spare a thought for. Looking after the edges, as it were. Always, when I am mopping the floor, I find myself hearing a voice that tells me to “look after the edges and the middle will take care of itself”. Anyone who has ever had dust rhinos (or searched for hamsters that have escaped, as a rather appropriate example) knows the truth of this statement. The dust (or hamster) tends to leave the centre of the room, the place where everyone else lives. A careful housekeeper (or so the voice in my head says) knows to look after the less popular spaces first, as the centre of the room gets attention anyway. This theory applies to a lot of things in life – look after the hidden bits, and the big bits will be okay.
Alright, I’m sounding a bit muddled here, but my point is that if the European Court of Justice can argue and hold people to account for the fate of a small hammie with a splendid name, perhaps it is looking after the bigger, centre of the room items as well.
That gives me hope. And a smile at the thought of all the less grandiose hamsters that shared our lives. They are wonderful creatures, and the world is richer for them. Let’s hope the Great Hamster of Alsace succeeds at reproducing, and that the French step up to their responsibility to supply it with habitat.