Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Thursday, June 12, 2014

White rabbit day

What does the sighting of an agouti mean? Simply that they are comfortable around people. Don't come too close though, or they will run!
Do you believe in omens? The original meaning of omen "sign of a change" not the later meaning that suggests a dark future event. I have to admit that animal omens can change my disposition, settle a mood, calm my outlook. Consider the night that we found the tiny emerald hummingbird fluttering between the fluorescent tubes - probably thinking he had found the sun or some source of unending light. Of course, we rescued it and set it on a branch outside. Every so often, I am staring into the void and an emerald body buzzes me back to here and now. I am sure it's the same bird!

Or the young corbeau that duck walked to the kitchen porch. The dogs set up a racket. Mr Corbeau walk hopped away and wedged itself in a corner. I went after it along the perimeter of my property until I picked him up and put him over the fence. The next day, he was back. This time I contrived to put him over the fence near the gully where the older corbeaux roost in the trees. Someone told me that young corbeaux spend a lot of time on the ground before they fledge - before their wing feathers have grown out and strong enough to fly. Toobesides, even full grown birds have trouble taking off from the ground and especially among trees and underbrush. So I pay attention to the corbeaux - they are sociable creatures, gathered in two or three. And I am certain they look at me.

Cobos in the trees look at me.

What number do you play for two, three or four cobos?

Yes, there have been other creatures. An iguana sunning on a neighbour's wall that tolerated me long enough to photograph it, then grew impatient and fell into the bougainvillea. Young agoutis foraging in the bush. Woodpeckers rat-a-tatting on the bois canots. Cornbirds (oropendolas) cawing and shrieking as they come and go from swinging nests. And snakes that came to my door.

Oropendola nests swing in the breeze while the bird negotiate their way in and out!

 
This day, the sky behind the massive cassia grandis trees was lightening at five. I rolled out of bed to see why the dogs were barking. There was a white rabbit hopping up the driveway. No, he was not carrying hat or gloves and he was not saying "I'm late. I'm late..." Shucks, I thought, if these lazy dogs decided to pen it, bunny would be a goner for sure.

Still in pyjamas, I closed the gate at the bottom of the stairs keeping the dogs inside. I approached yon rabbit. It scampered down the driveway and slipped through the bars of the main gate.

To the joggers who were coming up the hill: "Good morning, do you know who owns a white rabbit?" They looked up the hill and saw it hopping along.

"Christine."

5.30 too early to call Christine. Anyway, the rabbit was outside my gate and would probably go back the way it came.

Five minutes later, white rabbit slipped back into my yard, hopping up the driveway again. While the dogs were still barking, I went to the driveway, closing the gate behind me, cleared my mind and approached young rabbit.

"Pss pss," I called, then paused and let it come to me. All the way to my feet. Then I stooped and gently scooped it up, holding under the belly. Where to put it? With rabbit in one arm, I opened the trunk of my car with the other spreading newspaper pulling the screen over. Then I pushed the rabbit in and closed the door.

It was after six, so I called Christine and asked if she had lost a white rabbit.
"Is it ... dead?" was her whispered response.
"No. Will you come and get it?" I asked the question and already knew it would be easier to drive the car down the hill. "Don't worry, it's in my car, I'll drive it down."

Christine came out to greet me, "The children will be glad Houdini is back!"

And so, Houdini, the wily white rabbit with the thick neck muff was home after a night out in the Grove.

But at the end of the day, there was more animal drama. Sox sprinted down the hill after a black cat which hung on the fence over his head for half a minute before it leaped to the other side. 

I don't know what each animal symbolised or what happened on any given day. But each encounter with an animal spirit lifts me out of the ordinary. I open my mind, and heart, and I think, not alone not apart, but a part of the continuous fabric that's life.

I'm fumbling for my phone but this old man is coolo breezo sunning on the wall!


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