The Bird That Lived

It began on what I hope was the final snow day of this winter. 

Snow days in our house begin with joy, as the teenagers realize that they don’t need to leave for school and can sleep late, and the younger children realize that their older siblings will stick around all day. But by the afternoon, with the seven of us ratting around the house, we’re usually a little stir crazy.

So on this particular afternoon, even though the snow was still flying horizontally, everyone went outside. The younger children grabbed their sleds, and my husband and I grabbed the dog for a walk – or an arctic stagger — down the driveway. 

We’d just reached the mailbox and turned back towards the house when, through the swirling snow, we saw our eldest daughter coming out to meet us.

“Sooo, I was heading out to take a walk,” she began, “and when I opened the door Hermes ran in with something in his mouth. I couldn’t stop him.”

Hermes is our cat. Five years ago, our daughters discovered him and his four brothers in a dollhouse in their piano teacher’s attic, where they’d been stashed by their mother – a stray cat the piano teacher had taken in. Our girls, who felt a proprietary interest in these kittens, lobbied hard to adopt one. That’s why, despite two confirmed cat allergies in our household, we brought Hermes home. Those cat allergies are why Hermes became an indoor-outdoor cat. 

But Hermes had never brought any animals into our house before. My husband and I walked back through the snowstorm as briskly as we could. The two main questions running through my mind were:

What KIND of animal was it? And was it still alive?

Click here to continue reading this week’s “Faith in Vermont” column in The Addison Independent.

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