Thursday, October 4, 2012

Just Wiggle Your Nose

We often talk about how sensitive horses can be toward their humans and the various forms of communication we work out between us in order to coexist and serve each other.  I've talked about the herd of wild desert cottontails that feast on my haystack each morning and evening.  There is one bunny in particular who I have bonded with on a very subtle level.  She's the only one who doesn't run off when I gather hay for the horses.

Each morning and evening I greet her by saying, "Hey, baby bunny."

This repetition has made her comfortable with my voice and is our ritual.  She looks at me as if to acknowledge me, and then returns to her grazing while the other bunnies cower in the bushes waiting for me to leave.

This evening as I was walking to the manure pile, she left her hay to hop along side of me.  I had to do a double-take.  Was this wild rabbit really taking a walk with me?  She was pacing me just two feet from my left side.  I stopped and looked at her, wondering if she was actually trying to get away from me, but she stopped and wiggled her nose at me.  I took a couple of steps forward, and she took a couple of hops forward keeping the same distance all the way.

Then a fly ruined the moment by flying up my nose and I overreacted by slapping the air and snorting it out.  Bunny was gone when I opened my eyes.

After I finished feeding the horses I found her grazing in her usual spot behind the haystack.  I sat on a hay bale about three feet away from her and just watched her.  I expected her to either stay that same distance or hop further away, but she surprised me by hoping right up to me and sniffing.  I held as still as possible, but kept my relaxed posture so that she wouldn't sense any tension, then another fly landed on my face and I instinctively struck out at it.  The bunny hopped a couple of feet away, and then hopped around me in a half circle observing me.

I reached down and brushed some alfalfa off my pant leg, expecting her to run away, but instead she sort of mimicked my movements by grooming herself.  It felt like we were communicating.  More flies descended on my face along with a couple of gnats and I couldn't stand it anymore, so I swatted the air in front of my face like a crazy person, and the bunny hopped under the horse trailer.

Memories came back to me of all the domesticated rabbits I had as a child.  My first experience with a rabbit was in an infirmary of a children's camp.  I was in bed, practically paralyzed from homesickness.  The nurse laid this huge black and white rabbit named Snoopy on my chest.  I was so charmed by the rabbit that I instantly felt better.

A similar experience happened many years later when my own dwarf rabbit named Da Bun jumped up from the floor onto my chest while I was lying on a couch with the flu.  She actually licked my face the way dogs do when you have a fever.  My mother and I were amazed that a rabbit could feel comfortable enough with a human and be sensitive enough to know when a human is ill.  Perhaps the salt on my face attracted her, but I truly felt like the rabbit was trying to bring me "back to life" the way many animals lick their newborns to get them breathing and moving and cleaned up.

I haven't been feeling well the past few days, battling some recurring ailments that have plagued me in cycles for the past couple of years while getting increasingly intense.  I've been seeing doctors and running tests and planning procedures to try to free me from these symptoms.  Today was particularly difficult and I wasn't sure I could even muster up the strength to feed the horses, but I did.  I find it interesting that rabbits come into my life as a healing force at times when I'm ill.  There seems to be something happening on a spiritual level between me and these long-eared, nose-wiggling creatures.

What about you?  Have you noticed any running themes of a certain species of animal entering your space when you need a pick-me-up?


fernvalley01 said...

Funny that, let her heal you in any way you need. I have often found at hard times in my life Whitetail deer will be around me , at a particularly rough time , I saw a set of twin fawns very late in the year. Always a have a sense of peace and comfort following our encounters

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

That is so cool NM.

For me it's just always been horses. They have always been the one constant in my life.

lytha said...

i've never experienced animals treating me differently when i'm ill, but i am so rarely sick - i sure am blessed about that. my husband has been home sick twice this school year already. i LOVE your rabbit and i wonder if you will name her? she's beautiful and you obviously can get so close to get such great photos. all those awful varmints, and you have this lovely guest making up for it (i hope).

Snipe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
strivingforsavvy said...

Have you seen the book 'Animal Spirit Guides" by Stephen D Farmer. I find it fun to read.

cindy said...

That is a great post, what a sweet little bunny. We have lots of bunnies around us too. I had to laugh at you calling them a "herd" of bunnies, as I call the one we have here in WY, the same thing. There are a couple in particular that hang out with my old horse. They lay in the shade of his lean-to when it is hot and live under the feed shed. They always come out to say hello to me.
I agree that your bunny must be there to bring you peace in serenity during a time of medical uneasiness.
Hope you are feeling better soon.

Cheryl Ann said...

She's CUTE! I'm glad you are enjoying her! When we were up in the Sierra Nevada, near June Lake, last summer, there was one squirrel who came down every day to get peanuts. She was really cute. I miss her...Sorry I haven't been around much lately. I've had a nasty bout of bronchitis which has now turned into COPD. I've missed 5 days of work and I'm totally EXHAUSTED! I can't even get the energy to go see my horses...You KNOW that's BAD!!!
~Cheryl Ann~

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Rabbits are wonderful. At one time I had 3 of them, all house rabbits. They acted like affectionate, intuitive dogs and always made me smile.
I'm glad they are enriching your life again. And I hope you feel better soon.

As for me, both dogs and horses always lift me up and make my life so much sweeter. My Dobbie Girl always seems to know when I need a cuddle or a laugh and is always there for me.
And my Apache mare is the wind beneath my wings and takes me places that make my heart soar!


achieve1dream said...

Your bunny is so sweet and cute! That's so cool that she went for a walk with you. :D I'm glad she's providing you with some comfort.

I haven't noticed any wild animals. My horses and dogs are usually my comfort. When I'm feeling bad I just go down and hug Chrome and then I lay my cheek on his back and just listen to him eating. It's so relaxing. He always revives my spirits.

My dogs also seem to know when I'm sad and they get all cuddly. :)