Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Hare-Raising Tail

On Sunday evening we were all out working in the yard: Dad was finishing a small section of the grass with the lawn tractor; I was digging dandelions and completing other odd jobs; and Mom was trimming around trees.
I was temporarily walking across the back porch when Mom came around the corner of the garage with both an excited, expectant look and a smile on her face. "Come quickly and look at what I found," she said.
She led me behind the garage to the stump of a pine and told me to approach quietly. "Look!" she said, as she pointed to the ground.

There, nestled amid the lilies, was a nest of baby rabbits. There were three visible. All were squeezed together so that even their ears were folded and compressed into the small space.
None of them moved. They just looked at me as a took a couple of pictures. Where it appears foggy around the edges, that is rabbit fur that has been placed there by the mama to line the nest. I'm sure many cold, spring nights were spent in that small earthen hole.
A year ago, about this time, and on the southernmost portion of the lawn, I drove over another nest with the push mower. One rabbit, which popped out of the hole just as the blades passed overhead, was killed. I'll never forget watching it die at the base of a tree, wholly unable to render any assistance.
This year, however, there is a new family of rabbits and now that we know where they are, we will be extra careful. A flower bed is a much safer spot.
Last evening (just a day after the picture was taken), I walked back to have a look and saw but one rabbit visible. Probably a couple have hopped away and will be starting families of their own before the summer ends.
Life goes on. This wondrous nature contrives all around us to continue. Get the next generation down on the ground! Fill in the spaces left by those who have died! Move forward! March! The world goes on. Nature waits for nothing.

And just two days later, all five bunnies left the nest! Here's what they looked like before hopping to the meadow and disappearing into the early growth ...