Tuesday, January 29, 2008

One less ...



The world's a different place just before dawn as I walk the dogs. The birds are beginning their morning songs and sometimes I'll catch raccoons or opossums on their way back to their hiding places after their night out. In a neighborhood like mine, it sometimes seems as if the yards have been almost loved to death with fertilizers, sprays, enthusiastic pruning, and our need to conform to the suburban ideal - making these quiet morning moments with nature more precious.


Because of where I live, I see most "critters" as a sign of healing and gardening success - each bird, beneficial insect, butterfly, spider, earthworm, frog, or even snake that finds my yard hospitable. The red-tailed hawks and occasional heron are particular delights, even though they sometimes make a meal of fish from my pond. Don't get me wrong, I realize this view is the fruit of privilege. My family's next meal is not dependent on protecting the crop from rabbits or agricultural blight. But I feel pure joy at the sight of something wild in this tamed landscape.


So, although it seems like gardener heresy, one of my favorite things is seeing three small field rabbits each morning in my neighbor's yard. Their silhouettes in the dark look like chocolate Easter bunnies backlit by the streetlight - always dependably there, standing warily or nibbling at something that seems to grow only in that spot. They were there this morning as we walked by, and I expected them to be gone by the time we came back by. That's our daily routine. But, this morning one remained behind. His lifeless body crumpled by a car, the dogs and I were all startled to find him there in the street.


Why mention it? Because it seems appropriate to mark the passing of an individual. It's easy to see change when it happens on a grand scale or in large numbers. But it actually happens in small increments, like the loss of one small rabbit or the cultivation of a single garden that provides habitat and refuge for a bit of something wild. I'd love to hear how you're creating change in your patch of the planet. And click on the link to the left to read what Carol is doing for creative rabbit damage control at May Dreams Gardens!

5 comments:

Chris said...

Great pictures. I appreciated you view on the habitats we create.

vbdb said...

Thanks, Chris. I take all of the pictures using a fairly basic Canon digital.

kate said...

It is hard coming across a dead animal that you saw regularly. That happened to me when I was out with my dog in the fall and found one of our park rabbits dead. I love watching them hop off - especially after my dog stopped chasing after them.

Diana said...

I'm sorry for your loss. When we garden so passionately and get so close to the wildlife friends with whom we share our planet, it's hard to lose even the smallest of creatures. I cried when workers at our house accidentally knocked our cardinal eggs out of their nest last Spring. It's nice that his passing did not go unnoticed. Thanks.

MozzarElla said...

Lovely writing... just discovered your blog this evening. You write in style that really speaks to me.
Thank you.