In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Elusive rabbits, or hares

I have seen a rabbit -- or a hare, but more likely a rabbit -- exactly twice on the island in the past two years. But I have seen rabbit -- or hare -- prints in the snow, lots of them.  I think there may be a warren beneath the older pear tree. There are three entrances at the roots of the pear tree, and a fourth about six feet away from it.  Each time I looked, after a fresh snow, I found rabbit -- or hare --prints going to and from the entrances.  And then there were those mysterious and eerie sounds that came from beneath the pear tree last spring. If it is a warren, then we have rabbits instead of hares. Because hares don't go underground like that.

There seems to be a great deal that is not well understood about rabbits and hares, which are two very distinct animals, even though they look so much alike. They are mysterious and elusive, both of them.  Maybe that's why they are the object of so much fascination in myth and story and art.  They are certainly an ancient sign of fertility and spring. 

I am slowly settling on the rabbit theory because of my ongoing conversation with Amy-Lynn Bell, who posts at Flandrum Hill. She has hares in her yard, beneath her rose bushes, and they are so nonchalantly at home there that she is able to take beautiful photographs of them, which you can see on her blog.  On McNutt's Island we don't have any little furry hopping animal with long ears that behaves like the hares at Flandrum Hill.  As far as I know. It's a big island, and I imagine there's a lot that goes on here that I have no idea of. 

Today Amy-Lynn and I agreed that in honour of the mysteries of spring we would both use Albrecht Durer's A Young Hare as our blog illustration. Perhaps we are also both honouring this artist who looked so closely at the world four hundred years ago. The clarity and immediacy of his hare portrait hints of the perspective of a late medieval mystic. And maybe it inspires us to look around us as carefully and intensely as he once did.          

Albrecht Durer, A Young Hare, 1502.

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