There are stories told over and over again. Every year on December 21st, the shortest day of the year, the tale of Oswald, gentleman rabbit, is recounted to young rabbits the world over. Their button noses quiver and their ears wiggle in anticipation as they listen to this magic story.
Oswald, gentleman rabbit, stamped the snow off his rather generous feet. Brushed the ice crystals from his whiskers. Shook the snow off his coat. Almost everything was in place for the grand party. Rabbits far and wide would soon arrive at the burrow to celebrate the winter solstice.
He reached deep into the large pocket of his magic coat and began to pull out evergreen trees. The fragrant smell of cedar and fir, spruce and pine filled the room. The tree roots were wrapped in burlap tied round with holly and ivy vines. Every year he filled his dining room with the trees of Christmas. Trees of every size circled the room. Touched the ceiling. Sparkling and glittering with diamonds of snow. An indoor forest to celebrate the winter solstice.
Again he reached into the pocket of his magic coat. Oswald drew out hamper after hamper marked F & M – Fortnum and Mason. Purveyors of the finest delicacies in London.
Tonight the rabbit guests would dine on magnificent vegetable patés, Terrines of leeks and spinach, Carrot and ginger puddings and salads of delicate butter lettuce and dandelion greens. There would be plenty ginger beer, elderberry wine and raspberry cordial to celebrate this the longest night of the year.
Rabbits are rather fond of nibbling on tasty bits of this and that. There were mounds of ruby-red radishes and emerald-green asparagus, golden persimmons and scarlet pomegranates.
Rabbits have a very sweet tooth, and Oswald was ending the Solstice feast with the very finest sweet treasures from his favorite shop in Paris. From pale green boxes he filled crystal bowls with the very best from Ladurée. Chocolate truffles and tiny lemon tarts, raspberry macarons and St-Honoré cakes promised a decadently delicious ending to the banquet of the year.
When all the plates were empty and the last little crumb of pastry was nibbled away the room became quiet. The happy well fed rabbits settled back on their golden chairs in anticipation of what was to follow.
From the top most branch of the tallest tree in the room came a glorious sound. A single bird singing. A lark ascending. The tiny bird sang of peace, compassion and understanding. One by one from the surrounding trees more birds joined in song. A song swooping, soaring, climbing higher and higher until the very earth around the burrow vibrated with their singing.
Midnight. The candles spent and sputtered. The empty room filled only with happy memories of the departed rabbit guests. Oswald donned his magic coat. Gathered into its large pocket the forest of trees, and left the burrow to travel the dark, cold night. He would plant these trees on struggling clear-cut hills. On sparse, unyielding ground. On barren boulevards where trees struggled to survive the killing breath of city pollution.
The Solstice night was ending when he returned to his burrow. Oswald’s gift to the world was so simple, so unassuming when dawn broke those who lived above the burrow passed by the newly planted trees. Unaware. Blind to their presence. Thinking they had always been there. Taking for granted trees so necessary for their living, breathing planet.
Rabbits have the stewardship of all growing things, an enormous responsibility in a world where some deny and disbelieve what is happening to our changing planet. Perhaps you don’t believe in fairy tales. Than tell me this. How do you know the group of young people planting trees on clear cut hill are not rabbits wearing magic coats?