Blessed Ostara/Spring Equinox!
I hope everyone is able to find some light in their life today and all the days that follow.
It’s been a strange week; month; year; LIFE!
Depending on where you live things may be turned upside down, or just a bit rattled. Either way I see springtime as a burst of hope. Whether you still have to go out to work or stuck in quarantine, the sun is still rising. The birds still sing. The grass is green. And nature isn’t stopping.
Hiking trails remain open and backyards are not off limits.
Last night my family and I wandered our property playing and jumping in mud. We were serenaded by bird song and I got some much needed yard work done. But as I was clearing away some brush, the dog went nuts.
He found a rabbit and she ran her little figure-8 path before slipping under the fence and away into the surrounding yards. As usual I called the dog back and calmed him down, but my eldest shouted, “Mom I found baby mice!”
The little squeaks cried out and I shook my head. I knew what was coming. I checked the shallow nest and smiled at her. “Those aren’t mice, those are bunnies.”
I told the kids to wait for me, put the dog in the house, and came back to find one of the bunnies crawling away blindly. We nudged it back in place as best we could and I covered them up again with grass and leaves.
When I was a kid I loved caring for orphaned anything. Stray cats, dogs, birds; any animal I could find. Now an adult mother of 3 with a full-time writing career in the middle of a world-wide pandemic, all I wished was for the mother to return.
“What if she doesn’t come back?” My daughters asked.
“She will.” I said.
I keep telling myself this.
Having volunteered at the St. Louis Wildlife Rescue Center and worked for the area’s leading zoologist for a couple of years I have plenty of experience caring for a variety of animals. But bunnies do not do well without their mothers. They are exceptionally fragile.
We lost a lot of them at the wildlife rescue center.
What’s worse is that a lot of well-meaning people don’t realize that rabbits do not use babysitters and rob mothers of their young because they find a nest unattended.
I explained this to my children and added that it is best to let nature take its course unless humans specifically were the cause of abandonment or we know that mother is dead, and even then it’s a tough situation because that is life. It’s not fair or always kind. In the wild babies often die. This is a hard truth that I accepted over many years of success and failure.
But here I am periodically checking the nest from the window inside of my house hoping that the mother will return. I know, deep down, that if she doesn’t return I won’t let those four little hairballs starve to death or get eaten by a roaming cat or the neighborhood coyote. Yes, the coyote has to eat too, but I feel responsible. I usually walk the entire backyard before letting the dog lose. I didn’t. I feel at fault.
I’m also pregnant and that does not harden my resolve at ALL. Haha
Bunnies are a sign of life and good luck in springtime. They are directly connected to the Pagan myth of the Goddess Ostara who saved a frozen bird at the end of winter by changing it into a rabbit, but allowed it to lay eggs and fly once a year on the first day of spring.
I see these newborn creatures as a symbol of hope in all the uncertainty.
My children adore them and have been glued to the window all morning. When we go out again I know they will take up their seats on a nearby tree stump to watch the nest.
I hope the mother returns.
Sometimes hope is all we have to go on.
But if these bunnies are truly left behind I’ll probably give in to my maternal instincts and do what I can.
It’s all any of us can ever do.