Running with Hares, A Personal Reflection

An overturned bowl 

of starflakes,

lays down a new

  pearl white blanket.

 Earthbound

I shovel –

Silvery showers obscure – 

 and some paths

are slippery

in the dark.

 Grooming a circle

round and round

 I attend to listening. 

When day cares intervene –

naught but Silence

though I try

to feel –  to sense

   pure Voices

rising from

frozen ground.

Instead,

  monotonous

gray seeps

through me

like a sieve.

  Prickling skin

 grows taut.

Some days

lonely for 

 thrumming

 I neglect

to stay present

for Silence

as an end

in Herself. 

 Seeking change

I forget 

to breathe

into Now.

Imagining

 frozen ice crystals

parting

to reveal

cobalt blue –

a New Mexican

sky vault

but one

without  

West Wind’s

churning –

Time to

 remember!

 The Eye of the Sun

stings sensitive eyes.

Too much

 white glare blinds.

My reverie is broken

 by Hare.

“Winter doesn’t sever

 you from mountain

valleys,

or steal light

and bury it.

It simply asks you

to be still.

This season courts

Silence more

than Sound.”

It was then

that I heard them,

the flutter of

Whistling Wings…

So today I

tend to the Hare

who leapt out

of predawn shadows. 

I follow Her tracks

resolutely,

 traversing forest trails

to greet the 

whish and swell of

long needled pines

 bowed under 

heavy clumps of snow.

The Soul of the Earth

is wide awake,

mediating winter blues.

White Rabbit is conjuring

with Witching ears…

Glimpsing browning earth,

under silvery sparks

I hear birds singing. 

Oh, the gift of flowing water,

thawing ice, a symphony

of doves…

Not yet.

For now we two

 tread lightly,

snow hopping,

thankful

for what is –

breathing in Silence

as an end

 in Herself.

 The Forest

is still deep

in slumber

though root

tips are on fire –

 lighting

our way

Underground.

  I almost never glimpse a rabbit or hare until spring but am much aware of their presence as I snowshoe over the tracks they make on my woodland trails all winter. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I inadvertently invoked lagomorphs in this poem since these two animals have been with me all winter long! I have always found it odd that both rabbits and hares live on this one piece of property. Albeit totally invisible. At this time of year I begin to yearn for an end to winter white. Rabbit and Hare, (I used to use the two interchangeably) although sometimes mythologies do not, remind me that I need to reign in my longings.

I have a life long history with rabbits because I have loved them since I was a child, raised many, most of which got away. As an adult I continued this practice of acquiring rabbits as pets until their uncanny escapes finally brought me to the realization that rabbits were not supposed to be pets (at least for me), even when raised in captivity as ‘domestic’ animals. Unfortunately this took years; I am a slow learner.

The very last rabbit I had was an orphan I had no intention of getting after the bears let the last two go. But my vet advised me that “the orphan had no home”, and thus the deed was done. Naturally, this animal got free almost immediately and every time I almost caught him, he would jump high in the air and twist himself around like a whirling dervish to escape my frustrated grasp. Worse, I was convinced he enjoyed our daily three week chase. Although I finally trapped this tricky little character, I let him go as soon as he was old enough to care for himself.

I don’t remember when it occurred to me that this pattern of ongoing escapes might be trying to bring rabbit as trickster to my attention! I guess it will come as no surprise to the reader that I am easily hoodwinked.

 In world mythology both the hare and the rabbit are ancient archetypal figures associated with the Great Mother that stretch across cultures in Europe and Asia and Indigenous America. Freya, one of my favorites is a European goddess of winter who controls the weather and she rides through the night in a chariot that is drawn by rabbits or hares (depending upon the version). 

One curious aspect of some myths is that a rabbit or hare lives with his grandmother in the moon. In these stories the rabbit/hare is not only a male, but also has a trickster shape-shifting aspect with ambivalent qualities. I immediately think of the patriarchal “either or” way of thinking – black or white – but never “both and.” Grandmother Moon demonstrates the “both and” principle by not only containing the male/masculine but identifying parts of him as trickster in stories and myth. What’s interesting to me about this poem is that it is the female (or perhaps androgynous) HARE aspect of the goddess or nature that keeps returning me to the importance of staying in the present. The trickster aspect is RABBIT a domesticated animal who repeatedly attempts to seduce me through my own imagination painting pictures of a future that keeps me out of now. What I have learned by writing this poem is that for me there is a real difference between the two – one suggests culture, the other wild nature.

Postscript:

When I was searching for an image I came across countless baby rabbit pictures one of which appears above. Even with my history I am still seduced by those images – they look so innocent and helpless. Rabbits not hares – Hares do not appeal to me in the same way.

My lifetime experience with so called domesticated rabbits has called into question the issue of domestication. I do know that domesticated rabbits are closely related to wild cottontails and because it is clear that interbreeding occurs between the two I could be criticized for introducing an invasive species or something to that effect.

As a naturalist I have witnessed so many of my rabbits adapting to the field and forest around my house that I suspect domestication might be more about perception than reality, although DNA evidence does show some changes….I think this is an ongoing process that can still be easily reversed. Trickster rises again!

A Wild Hare – none have been domesticated

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s