For obvious reasons I decided to write a post celebrating rabbits this week. I have always liked rabbits. In my new home in Berks County PA, rabbits abound so it is a good thing to enjoy them. My daily routine includes going to the barn every day in the early morning and evening no matter what the season or weather conditions. Over the time I have lived here, it has been a comfort to have the rabbit community as my companions.
In the morning the rabbits hang out in the grass between the turnout fence and the wooded area. There are usually at least three or four. In the early evening, they migrate to the grass in front of the barn where the motion sensitive light shines. Late at night when I have to make a special trip back to check on a the horses, they can be found in the front yard of the house. During the day, they are hidden in the wooded area, in the winter to seek shelter from the cold wind and in the summer to find some shade.
Wikipedia explains that rabbits are symbols of rising fertility in the spring due to the fact that they have large litters. The Easter Rabbit is a folk legend that comes from the Alsace Region in France.
I was actually surprised to learn that in our area, rabbits do not live in holes. They live in bushes, high grass, anyplace where there is protection. The other day I was pulling weeds and as I reached down to remove a big tuft of wild violets, I saw a bunny crunched down flat trying to be invisible underneath it. I quickly moved on and did not disturb him/her. Here they do not disappear in the winter. I worried about them two winters ago when there was snow on the ground for several months. This past winter, they went about their business as if it was not even winter!
There are lots of great books about rabbits. Here are some that come to mind.
First on the list would be the Beatrix Potter Books, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. I wrote a post on the movie about her life that is included here… https://pathfinderpursuits.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/inspiration-in-the-life-of-beatrix-potter/
Watership Down by Richard Adams was published when I was in college. It is a novel about a colony of rabbits in England. At the time it resonated with me because I was studying political philosophy. It is now a classic and great reading for older teens who are becoming aware of politics and power issues in society. For authors a side note on Watership Down is that Adams submitted it to 13 publishers before it was accepted.
My all time favorite is The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real), a children’s novel written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson. The Velveteen Rabbit is the story of a boy, his stuffed rabbit and the nursery toys who have a life at night after he has gone to bed. The boy receives the Velveteen Rabbit for Christmas. The Velveteen Rabbit is snubbed by other more expensive or mechanical toys. The mechanical toys fancy themselves special and real and look down on the stuffed rabbit. Then one day while talking with the wise, old Skin Horse, the Rabbit learns that a toy becomes real if its owner really and truly loves it. The Skin Horse also makes the Velveteen Rabbit aware that “…once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
This book touched me deeply when I first read it. It has definitely had an impact on my writing. Quincy’s pal Beau speaks with the wisdom of the Skin Horse. The Velveteen Rabbit was written in 1922 but how on the mark the message is today