Of Mice and Voles

14 February 2011

I looked up from my Cheerios this morning to see a giant red tailed hawk carrying off a vole in his talons, who, until then, had been happily living in my compost heap in the corner of the back yard. He seemed to wave to me and say, in parting, “Happy Valentines Day!”
A Vole is a member of the rodent family, but less well known than mice or rats. There is some history there. At one time, about a hundred years ago, voles scored equally with mice and rats on the “Rodent Recognition Poll”, held annually in most democratic countries. That all changed when the mice chose Creative Associates as their agency, and Mickey got his now famous shot on “Tugboat Willy.” After that, the voles made one bad career move after another, ending, of course, in rehab.
The sight of that hawk with the hapless vole in his talons got me thinking: time to update the family crest. I’ve always loved the Mexican symbol with the Eagle devouring the snake, which the Chichimecs claim is taken from a real incident which led to the founding of Mexico City. You could easily envisage the conversation taking place between the chief of the Chichimecs and his Aide-de-Camp when confronted with such a spectacle:
Chief: Okay, if we’ve been looking for an omen, or a portent, of where to found what will be called in the future Mexico City, I think this is it.
AdC: I don’t know, Quimosabe.
Chief: Come on! What else could it be?
AdC: Deus ex Machina?
What do you think, would a hawk with a vole have the same staying power?

Rupert Scofield


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