Tuesday, January 1, 2013
An Urban Rabbit Story
It was a devil of a spring storm. The black clouds had come in from the west in the evening and during the night thunder shook the house. Wind rattled the patio gate and it was impossible to sleep. My sissy cat huddled next to me and cried when the storm was at its worst. Rain pounded the rooftop.
The next morning broke clear, but cool. It was late spring and most of the plants were up in the small patio gardens. These plantings represent my attempt to have a Japanese garden so there is a small Japanese maple and a weeping evergreen. I had noticed that a very tame wild rabbit had been hiding among the hostas and I wondered how she had fared through the storm.
I took a deep breath of the smell of rain as I walked out on the patio and to each bed to check for plant damage. I’d left the hoses out for the season and as I walked near one, I saw a baby rabbit huddled in the coil of the hose. At first I was sure it was dead, suspecting the storm had killed it, but as I approached, it opened its eyes and stared. I backed off, as I had heard somewhere that one should not touch a wild animal or the parent would abandon them. As I moved toward the gate, I noticed a second rabbit in the coil of a second hose. It was shaking in fear and hunkered deeper against the hose for protection.
“What to do?” I asked myself. Should I try to feed them? Leave them alone? Wait for mama to return? Well, I did leave them alone and waited for mama to come get them. At the end of the first day, I was certain they would die. At the end of the second, I just couldn’t stand it. I picked them up and held them in the palm of my hands and said calming words of reassurance.
On the morning of the third day, I was sitting on the patio, talking to my baby rabbits still in their hose shelter when mama rabbit appeared at the gate. She gave a little squeak and baby rabbits tumbled toward her. Even though I went and got the camera, I didn’t disturb the activities. Those were two hungry babies and mama wasn’t leaving them for anything. As I watched she nursed her babies and tucked them back into the nest behind the weeping evergreen.
I always tell people to watch for “urban” wildlife and I think I have had some unique experiences. I guess the word must be out that I’m just an old softy - or maybe I'm just a searcher for happy endings. Every once in a while, those really happen.