Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quick! Like a Bunny!

I saved a baby bunny on Saturday. That's not him above, though. I didn't get a picture because I was too busy with the life saving, however he looked an awful lot like this little guy. He was younger though - too young to have left his nest and mama - hence the saving.

It went something like this...

My lovely mother-in-law, Arlene, has been out for the count because of a twice-broken ankle, so I've been helping her with John and Kim (the lovely sister-in-law). On Saturday, I took Chipper (the mother-in-law's feisty pooch) outside in the backyard, and two bunnies high-tailed it out of his way. He went on to do his business, but I noticed a teeny, tiny ball of brown fuzz popping out of the grass near the tool shed.

"Baby bunny?" I thought. My suspicions were quickly confirmed, and I went inside with Chipper and told Arlene about it. She's an animal lover like me (she spent weeks covering a bunny nest in her lawn with a trash can lid every time she brought Chipper outside earlier this year). Needless to say, we were sad for the little bunny. It was a rainy day, getting colder as night approached, and I didn't think the little guy was old enough to be out of his nest.

This suspicion was also quickly confirmed after a Google search. He was too little. Worried, I went outside to check him out. He was hunkered down in wide-open space, his teeny eyes squeezed shut, shivering. When he saw me, he started to hop towards me - or sort of hop. He hadn't gotten the hopping thing down yet.

If he was coming towards a predator, I knew he'd be a goner before long.

At this point it was 8 p.m., but I decided to try to call the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge for some advice. Luckily someone picked up, and she asked if I knew where a bunny nest was nearby. I did - only a few yards away in the neighbor's lawn. She then told me to check to see if there were live bunnies in the nest. There were - same size as the lone baby. The woman then said to just put the baby back - it was a myth that a mother will abandon her nest if a human bothers with it.

"Easy enough!" I thought, borrowing Arlene's garden gloves. John was over at this point, so he came outside to watch. I picked up the little bunny (cutest thing in the whole world, by the way) and walked into the neighbor's lawn. I put him down towards the nest and covered him with some of the grass and rabbit fur. Job well done!


Turns out, the little guy must have liked me (or more accurately was probably freezing and liked my warmth), because every time I tried to leave him in the nest, he'd jump out and follow me through the yard! This was endearing, I have to admit, but also worrisome because I had no idea what to do.

This went on for a while, and just as John was resigning himself to the fact that we would have to bring this baby bunny home for the night, I tried one last time, quickly running from the nest so the little guy couldn't follow me. He sat there for a minute, and then must have figured a warm nest with his brothers and sisters was better than nothing, because he finally crawled in!

Since then, the mama bunny has been back to take of her babies, so all is well. They'll probably be leaving the nest on their own within a week or so. I wonder if the baby I saved will remember me?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Of Love and Beauty

Roses have long been symbols of love and beauty.

Just before taking these photos Wednesday evening, I breathed a sigh of relief when my mom called and assured me that, while she was not out of the woods yet, the outlook for a dear family friend rushed to the hospital earlier in the day was bright. It was promising, the doctors said.

To calm down, I went out front to take photos of the multitude of beautiful roses blooming in the yard. As I took these photos, breathing in the beauty of the day's end, that same dear family friend slowly slipped away. Not fifteen minutes after the reassuring phone call, my mom called back. "She's not going to make it," she said, her voice cracking. I hung up the phone and wept.

Liz was the nicest person I ever met.

Roses hold a special place in my heart because of my grandparents. I can't see a rose without thinking of Mema and Poppy. Poppy planted rose bushes - gold and red and pink - in my parents' yard. One gold bush remains, and on the night that Mema passed away in late October 2003, the dormant bush bloomed one last golden rose in the middle of the night. It was gone within a couple of days, but the memory of that rose stayed with me.

For this reason, roses have always been a sort of comfort for me, despite never having been a favorite flower or a bouquet I would bring home for the kitchen table. I wasn't surprised when John and I moved into this house and the front yard was bursting with a dozen or so rose bushes. I kind of feel like it was a little hello from my grandparents; a sign they still watch over me.

I also don't think it was a coincidence I took these photos when such an amazing person passed away. They are symbols of beauty and love, after all, and these are two things easily associated with Liz. She was wonderful. She was caring and kind and compassionate. She adored animals. She was the most loving mother. She was the most steadfast friend. I think my mom's friend said it perfectly when she told me the other night, "Liz was everything I aspire to be."

Liz was an amazing, kind-hearted and beautiful woman whose memory will live on in all of the goodness she brought to this world. And, for me, every time I see a rose, her memory will also live on in that simple love and beauty.