Thursday, May 02, 2013

Back to the Wild Kingdom

It was grey and snowy, sleety, rainy all day here in rural Kansas, the second day of May.  I don't mind it one bit.  This morning I did some work for the cherry season which has begun in California (you will see sweet cherries in your grocer's produce section within a week.)  Still grey this afternoon, I read through a couple of books of collected poems.  There were many poems with which I was familiar, and many I have yet to get a clear grip on.  This week's memorization is The Charge of the Light Brigade, Tennyson.  I have always loved this poem, and it is high time I commit it to memory.  If I am unlucky enough to be part of that Alzheimer's statistic in the coming decades, I will still be entertaining to my great-grandkids: 

"Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them, Volleyed and thundered..."

I will be a terrific great-grandmother in her blithering state.

Late this afternoon, the skies cleared and I headed out to walk the pups in our pasture.  I walked, they romped.  They frolicked after a full day hunkering in the barn, away from the wintry elements.  They paraded, and trotted, and chased each other and...

Down by our creek, I stood watching nothing, nothing at all.  I do this a lot during my dog walks down there.  If one stands very still, it is amazing what can be observed and witnessed.  Case in point, this afternoon:

Standing stock-still, I heard and then felt a flurry, a BIG flurry heading STRAIGHT towards my head.


Really?  Can I get a grip on reality?  Who (in their right minds) EVER think they are being overtaken by peacocks?

Well.  It has been my experience living here in rural Kansas, that incredibly large birds which resemble pterodactyls, and which fly right around one's head and body, are indeed peacocks.  I have owned many peacocks, and this is what they do.  (As that Spouse o' Mine points out, their brains are the size of walnuts, so what does that tell us?)

But I do not currently own any peacocks.  So...what the bloodhound was flushing was NOT peacocks, but turkeys.

Yes.  Most people around here would assume that IMMEDIATELY.

I assumed that it was an attack of peacocks.  Mine is a colorful imagination.

Another chapter of my homecoming week was that a few days ago I went out to our vegetable garden to assess the situation.  I pullled a few weeds.  My cello teacher tells me that the pretty purple weeds are called "Chickweed"  Out, they go.  But very suddenly, I heard a tiny-yet-frightenly SQUEAL right at my feet.  A small grey THING!  A baby rat?!  A baby what?!

Oh, my.   A baby bunny.  Tiny. Oh, wait: two baby bunnies, but one was dead.  The other was so cold and stiff, I cupped my hands around it and blew warm breath, again and again. By the time I got to the house, the baby bunny, eyes still shut, was breathing regularly and kicking its cottontail back legs against my palms.  I put him in a tissue box and headed to the computer: Wild baby bunnies...

Online bunny authorities say that Mother Bunny comes to feed babies only after dark - that she will not set on a baby bunny nest during the day, for fear that it will attract predators.  That makes sense.  I called that Spouse o' mine and told him my plan:  I would return baby Bunny back to the garden at dusk.  Yep.

 What the Online Bunny Authorities also say is that a baby bunny with the little stripe on its head signify that it is one week old: too young to survive outside its nest.  Well, we could not find its nest.  And what Online Bunny Authorities failed to address was our freezing/below freezing temps this week.

I went to our local big store and bought a little animal baby bottle and little animal milk replacement, and began to feed Baby Bunny.  Baby Bunny was very pretty, and it was very sweet to observe such a...I don't know  how to describe it, such a ...personal chapter of Nature?  A chapter of nature that we humans do not often enjoy.  Such a teeny, tiny, little baby.  Watching him breathe, and suckle, and scoot all over the place - definitely an instinctual burrower, even as a week-old creation.

During the night, I was awakened twice by Baby Bunny's squeal of hunger or warmth or who-knows-what.  I tried to comfort him with food and stroking and cover.  In the morning, I fed him once more.  Sadly, by lunchtime, he had died. I felt sad, not morose, but sad that I had not been able to nurture him to viability.

An aside to Baby Bunny, after my night of feeding:  That Spouse o' Mine asked me at dawn, "So, how is motherhood?"

I could reply that there is a reason God gives us babies in our 20s and 30s.

Not in our 50s.       


Louise Plummer said...

What I like about this post is your natural buoyancy. I suspect there's not a depressive bone in your body. You exhude zest about everything around you: imaginative peacocks turned turkey, snow in May, memorizing Tennyson, and all nighters with a faltering bunny. It's a happy thing.

Melissa said...

What a sweet tiny baby bunny! Sorry that he didn't make it, but it wasn't for lack of care. I almost stepped on a baby bunny several weeks older than yours, that day we were out searching every square inch for Buttercup's kittens. So cute!

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