Sunday, May 03, 2009

Dancing Doves and a Lonely Hare

The air was sharpish today but the sun was brilliant so we had a Kodachrome sky and calm sea. If you could duck the wind, you could almost pretend it was summer. I don't think it was a good day for the surfers, but for the rest of us it was a good day to stockpile colours for the long dark time. I borrowed a few minutes from chores to sit in the car in the parking lot in the Coop. My eye was drawn to a dove--I have for some years now been fascinated with just that lovely-blush-pink golden infused grey of their breast. "Dove grey" is an oversimplification. I was thinking about how I just might be able to capture that colour in wool if I took a few strands of this and that and combed them together when I noticed a larger dove doing an elaborate head bobbing routine. Only love would make a dove move so foolishly, so I watched them dancing for awhile until they flew off to continue their romance outside my prying eyes.

After dinner with friends, we took a long way home in the soft twilight that occurs now at about 9pm--soon it will hardly be dark at all. In that soft light, I saw a brown-grey creature moving on the verge on the road. A hare. I used to think rabbit and hare were different words for the same creature, akin to rock and stone, but a hare is larger than a rabbit and has much longer back legs. If you think a rabbit can run fast, you ain't seen nothing til you have seen a hare cover territory in leaps and bounds with those oversize legs.

I first saw hares doing what earned them their moniker--"mad as a March hare" out the window of the train between here and Inverness. I saw several hares running harum scarum totally oblivious to the train or the livestock in the nearby field. And then, I saw pairs of them stand on those oversize back legs and make a pinwheel motion to each other with their front paws. As I found out later it is called "boxing", which is apt but it looked for all the world to me like the stereotyped fighting you see in movies. These fisticuffs are not between combatants, which is perhaps why the blows don't need to land, but are a little love spat--or a negotiation. The lady hare is telling the gentleman hare whether his attentions are welcome or not. For a short while in the month of March, these critters run around lovestruck. And then, as is often the case with love, passion cools and the hares go their separate ways.

So this lone hare lopes his way along the verge was thinking of clover and a warm place to sleep for the night rather than love. He loped along beside the car and then made a characteristic quick turn across the road and into the field.


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