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She brought us vole after vole after vole.  Never more than one a day but on the other hand, who needs a vole a day?

Ordinarily she was a competent hunter but not exactly prolific.  The occasional sparrow, now and then a snake, maybe a mouse.  I could count the yearly slaughter on one hand.

So the voles were troubling.   She’d shove through the cat door, determined and yelling.  She’d swagger arthritically into the dining room and spit out the vole, ‘tooey’.  She’d shake her head with her tongue out ‘nungnungnung ‘ to rid her mouth of those last little hairs, swagger to the wall and slide down until she was reclining on the floor.

She ignored my entreaties to stop and on top of it she always looked irritated.  What was she trying to say?  Stop with the voles, I said.  We don’t eat them and they’re dying for no good reason.  So she brought us some more.

One day I took a moment to notice a vole.  It looked very much like a mouse, sleek and shiny.  Black in places and gray in others, and there was a dash of a really lovely auburn too.  It was a very pretty animal.  I sighed.

It’s difficult to read your own pet.   Besides, I figure hunting is hard-wired, not much I can do about that.  But it nagged at me and one day when I was doing something else I got it.

My husband was waiting to be laid off.  Technically it had been a threat in our lives for I don’t know, five years?  In a few weeks it would become a reality.

Maggie was contributing to the family by bringing us food.  Who expects the cat to help pay the bills?   It was a metaphor, but the big picture showed me that something greater than us loves us and takes care of us, and it’s ready to help.  We need to be open to it and know it might not come in the form we expect, then we need to appreciate its beauty and say thanks!

I told my husband, “I think I’m onto something.  Listen, if she stops bringing us voles I’m going to take it as a sign that we’ve cracked the code.”  He shrugged.

I told Maggie how much I appreciated her hard work, showing us we were going to be taken care of.   The slaughter stopped.  About two weeks later she brought my husband a vole while I was out of town, but it’s been a month or more and so far, no voles.

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