One misty moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man...
So goes the rhyme. But what I met was neither old, nor man. I set off on my morning walk as usual, admiring the pale yellowness of the mist enveloping all the trees. As I thought of walking up to see the sunrise over Southgate (love the alliterativeness of that phrase), a hare jumped away a few feet in alarm. I stopped.
It watched me unflinchingly, and started to make little clicking sounds with its tongue. What was it saying, I wondered. Then it bent its head and started to lick its neck. I watched for a few more minutes (or was it seconds), continued to amble. I was suddenly aware that a very tiny something not more than a foot away from my feet, scurried into the shade of the pines. A baby bunny!
Mommy must have been instructing him. "Stay still, the human will pass by without noticing. Then move to the safety of the trees."
I left them to their breakfasts, and walked further down. Two more hares sat on the crumbling asphalt of a driveway, just beyond a line of untidy hedge. One browsed on the weeds in the potholes, moving slightly stiffly, while the other crouched, watching. The stiff movement caught my attention, and I watched them for a couple of minutes. The hare with the stiff leg moved around slowly. I thought initially that it might have been age, then realized that it was possibly hurt in the leg.
On, past the house with a newly planted 'Home Run' rose, complete with labelling from the pot, down towards the line of trees separating both halves of the road. I froze.
A baby bunny froze with me, and her watchful mother. The baby was right at the road's edge, munching on the weeds that lined it. The mother was in the grass, doing likewise.
How close would I be able to approach, before they hopped away? I stepped carefully, slowly towards the middle of the road. Could I manage to pass through without disturbing either? Not likely, but worth a try.
A few steps. The baby held very still. The mother set back her ears. A few more steps.
I was about 2 feet away. The mother took off with leaping bounds, stopping in the grass about 30 feet away. The baby nearly simultaneously hopped into the safety of the tree divider, scooting into the pine mulch at the base, to blend with the soft browns there.
Sorry for interrupting your breakfast, bunnies.
I finished my walk back up the cul-de-sac and headed for home. No turkeys in sight, this morning, I thought. But no, there they were. The mother turkey and --what happened to the fourth baby turkey? I stopped and looked, as she clucked anxiously at her three.
A few days ago, I had seen her with four, and today there were three.
Such is life.