A GLASS OF WINE AND CONVERSATIONS WITH A GENTLEMAN RABBIT

Early evening.  The shadows lengthen.  All is quiet on the farm.  A glass of wine.  A mystery novel.   It is my favourite time of day.   If I’m very, very quiet the rabbits come out to play.

“I beg your pardon, Miss Virginia.  I do appreciate you took the advice of your Texas friend, Miss Jo Nell,  and put a rabbit proof fence around your tulips.”  I looked up from my book to see  Oswald, gentleman rabbit,  had left supervising the play time of two young bunnies and joined me on the patio.

“Just some leaves nibbled and a few blossoms lost.  No worries, dear Oswald.  Tell me, what is happening in the rabbit world?”

Oswald circled the basket wondering if there was room for both him and a rather large shell.  Rabbits like to be quite comfortable when they chat about their day.

“It is tight quarters, but I do so like the smell of the ocean.”  Oswald tucked his rather large feet under him. Wrinkled his nose.  He began to bring me up to date on the comings and goings in the rabbit world.

“Old growth trees on The Island.  They are planning to harvest them.   Terrible, just terrible.     Over 250 years old and when they are gone they are gone forever.  We have a few of our chaps in the Sierra Club.  We’ll see what we can do.    Of course the bee thing.  It’s ongoing.  We’re having the most success in the city.  More flowers there then in the country.    Then there’s NETFLIX.  It is our most ambitious project yet!”

“NETFLIX?     What has NETFLIX got to do with your stewardship of all things growing Oswald?” I asked.

“Watch the movie Watership Down.  The BBC production .  Listen for a deep, and rather ominous  voice, ‘In the beginning Frith made the World’.  It is the  beginning of Watership Down.”  Watch it and perhaps weep a little.  It is our world.

“I had no idea rabbits were involved in the entertainment business?”

“We’ve come a long way from  ‘What’s up Doc? rabbit cartoons” replied Oswald as he tossed back his ears, licked a paw and smoothed  his fur.

And with that my dear Oswald left his basket and the perfume of the ocean shell.  He gathered the two young rabbits and disappeared  deep into  the safety of his burrow.

 

 

 

 

THE TRAGIC TALE OF THE EASTER TULIPS . . . a tale for lovers of rabbits and chocolate

This morning I went out to  my fence garden.  Last autumn I planted dozens of tulips.      I envisioned a glorious mass of breath taking colour.  Magnificent tulips swaying elegantly against a weathered fence.  Instead I was presented with damp, black earth scattered with the guillotined heads of tulips.    At first I thought the high wind of the previous evening was the culprit.    In a Holmes like manner I examined the scene of the heinous crime.  Rabbit prints.  Rabbit paws.  Small rabbit paws.

“I’ll catch those maundering rascals.  And I’ll do what I always do with rabbits.  I’ll nibble their ears off.    I am so angry”, I muttered under my breath.

As I stamped off I heard a quiet clearing of throat. “Excuse me”.  I turned to see Oswald, gentleman rabbit.  “You have planted a garden dangerously close to our burrow.    And you know how rabbits like to taste everything, at least once. Chewing a bunnies ears seems a bit excessive”, he quietly pointed out.  “How else are they going to learn about this wonderful, green, growing world we live in”.  I had made a rather vocal faux pas .  Now I must confess to Oswald my guilty pleasure.  I do indeed enjoy  nibbling rabbit ears.

“Oswald, dear Oswald.  I would never nibble off bunny ears. If I have to choose between flowers and rabbits I would choose rabbits every time.    When my children were young I always made sure their Easter baskets were filled with the finest of chocolate bunnies.  Bunnies made from the very best Belgian chocolate.  Bunnies with very big, solid ears.  And my children obliged me by sharing their chocolate bunny ears with me.”

My secret was out.  I was a closet eater of chocolate rabbit ears.  Tomorrow I would go to Jarry’s Market in the sweet little village of Ladner.  I would buy an armful of tulips, and perhaps a chocolate rabbit or two.   Than off to the hardware store for the makings of a rabbit proof fence.

 

 

HOW OSWALD, GENTLEMAN RABBIT CELEBRATES THE WINTER SOLSTICE AND TRIES TO SAVE THE WORLD ONE TREE AT A TIME. A fairy tale for adults who care.

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There are tales told over and over again.  Repeated from one generation to the next.    Every year on December 21st, the shortest day of the year,  the tale of Oswald gentleman rabbit, is recounted to young rabbits.  Their noses quiver and their ears wiggle in anticipation.  It is the story of Oswald the rabbit, who wore a magic coat.  A coat that allowed him to travel anywhere in the blink of an eye.  A coat with bottomless pockets he could fill with the universe.   A coat that  allowed him to become a human for a day.

And so the tale begins.

Oswald, gentleman rabbit, stamped the snow off his rather generous feet.  Brushed the ice crystals from his whiskers.   Shook the snow off his magic coat.   Everything was in place for the grand party.  Rabbits the world over would soon arrive at his burrow to celebrate the winter solstice.

Oswald’s ancient burrow was immense.  Deep, deep beneath the earth  the rooms in the burrow were so large one alone could hold more that a thousand rabbits.  Massive,  thick, gnarled  tree roots formed the ceilings.  Fireflies became living chandeliers  chasing away the darkness.

Oswald  reached deep into the pocket of his magic coat and began to pull out evergreen trees. Hundreds and hundreds of trees.   The fragrant smell of cedar and fir, spruce and pine enveloped the room.  The tree roots were wrapped in burlap tied round with holly and ivy vines.  Every year he filled the largest room in the burrow 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.

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Oswald was very particular about the menu for his Winter Solstice Dinner.    He shopped for the finest delicacies in London.  In the rush of Christmas no one noticed the gentleman with  rather large ears wearing an elaborate red coat. filling basket after basket with Christmas delicacies.  Back  in the enormous kitchen of the burrow,  Oswald reached into the pockets of his magic coat  and drew out hamper after hamper marked F & M – Fortnum and Mason.

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 bottles and bottles of ginger beer, elderberry wine and raspberry cordial to celebrate this the longest night of the year.  Rabbits are fond of nibbling on tasty bits of this and that.  Scattered through the dining hall were generous platters of ruby-red radishes and emerald-green asparagus, golden persimmons and scarlet pomegranates.

It is a little know fact that rabbits have a very sweet tooth.  Oswald planned on ending  the Solstice feast  with the very finest,  sweetest treasures from his favorite shop in Paris.   He walked along the Champ-Elysées  every inch the flâneur in his imposing red coat.   Ladurée, in all its elegance of  marble display  counters,  enveloped him in sweetness.   From pale green boxes he would fill crystal bowls with sublime treats.    Chocolate truffles and tiny lemon tarts,  raspberry macarons and St-Honoré cakes.    It would be a delicious ending to the shortest day of the year.

Later, much later.  When the hundreds and hundreds of  plates were empty. When the last little crumb of pastry was nibbled away,  silence filled the room.   The  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 cavernous 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  surrounding trees birds joined in song.  Louder and louder.    A song  swooping, soaring, climbing higher and higher until the very earth around the burrow vibrated with its magnificence.

Midnight.  The fireflies folded their lighted wings and disappeared into the winter night.   Oswald donned  his magic coat.   He gathered into its bottomless pockets the forest of trees that had decorated the dining hall.  He left the burrow to travel through the dark, cold night.  He would plant these trees on struggling  clear-cut   hills.  On burnt, scorched  unyielding ground. On barren boulevards where anything green and growing 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 these trees so necessary for their living, breathing planet.

Rabbits have the stewardship of all growing things.  An enormous responsibility  in a world where many  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  that group of  young people planting trees on that clear cut hill  are not rabbits wearing magic coats?

 

GATHER YOUR WORDS TO KEEP THEM SAFE

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She  gathered the words and held them tight.

Words   colored with joy and delight.

Words that  cut with razor brilliance

Words  weeping with sadness.

 

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They tumbled from between the book cover.

Some giddy with happiness.

Some shuddered with suspense.

 

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She gathered the pages tightly in white.

She gathered the words to keep them from sight

 

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White to protect the beginnings and endings.

White around each chapter and verse.

White to keep the stories safe.

She gathered them to her mind forever.

 

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(There are  books in my library that for various reasons are so extremely important to me I have covered  them with a simple protective covering of white  paper. Not all the books have titles.  It is not always necessary to identify old friends you visit on a regular basis.)

 

At various times I am so taken by a book I am reading I simply have to share it with all my dear friends.  Th following is a few of my “book blogs”.

A TRICK OF THE LIGHT

GRANNIES WONDERFUL CHAIR

CHARLES THE BOLD

THE PARIS WIFE

ROMANTIC READS

A WINTER TALE

THE CAT’S TABLE

 

 

 

OSWALD’S WINTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION

 

 

OSWALD CELEBRATES THE WINTER SOLSTICE

Oswald, gentleman rabbit, stamped the snow off his rather generous feet.  Brushed the ice crystals from his whiskers.   Shook the snow off his coat.   Everything was in place for the grand party.  Rabbits from far and wide would be arriving  at the burrow to celebrate the winter solstice.

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He reached deep into the large pocket of his magic coat.  The fragrant smell of cedar and fir, spruce and pine filled the room.  He had traveled the world and gathered every type of tree.  The tree roots were wrapped in burlap tied round with holly and ivy vines.  Trees of every size circled the room.  Touched the ceiling.  Sparkled with diamonds of glittering snow.

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Again into the pocket of the  magic coat.  Oswald drew out big hampers marked F & M – Fortnum and Mason.  Purveyors of the finest delicacies in London.  The large wicker containers held:

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Magnificent vegetable patés,  Terrines of leeks and spinach.

Carrot and ginger pudding.

A special winter treat salads of delicate butter lettuce, and dandelion greens.

Mounds of ruby-red radishes and emerald-green asparagus.

Golden persimmons and scarlet pomegranates.

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From pale green boxes he filled crystal bowls with sweet treasures from Ladurée.

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Rich dark chocolate truffles and puckery  lemon tarts.

Raspberry,  pistachio, lemon, hazelnut  macarons that crumbled and melted away on tiny rabbit tongues.

All washed down with copious amounts of elderberry wine.

Rabbits have a sweet tooth and so love to indulge.

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The evening was coming to an end.  The room became quiet, very quiet.  From the top most branch of the tallest tree came a glorious sound, a single bird singing.     A lark ascending.  The Christmas bird sang of peace, joy, compassion and happiness. One by one from the surrounding trees more bird song.   Soaring, climbing higher and higher until the very earth around the burrow  became a cathedral of song.

Midnight.  The candles sputtered.  The guests memories. Oswald filled the large pockets of his magic coat with the forest of trees.  He would plant these trees on  clear-cut  hills and create new forests.  He would plant trees along highways and roads.  He would plant trees in the cites on barren boulevards and deserted vacant lots.

His work finished he slipped his watch into the small pocket and became part of the dark.   In the morning  those who lived above ignored  the trees.  They did not see them.    They believed the trees had always been there.

Fini!

Now my darlings, sleep tight and dream of sugar plums and all things wonderful.

OSWALD, GENTLEMAN RABBIT AND THE WINTER SOLSTICE

Some posts beg to be revisited.   The story of OSWALD, GENTLEMAN RABBIT and his magnificent Winter Solstice party is one of them  (it follows this post).  If you would like to know more about this unique and rather extraordinary rabbit visit all the stories  under THE CHRONICALS OF OSWALD, GENTLEMAN RABBIT.  It’s listed under categories in the right hand column.   Come into Oswald’s burrow.  He would like to get to know you

CHRONICLES OF OSWALD, GENTLEMAN RABBIT …Edward Bun comes to call

I met Edward Bun again today.  He was coming from the vegetable garden. Edward Bun is the tiny bunny who watches me through the patio doors.

I was heading to the garden to check on the status of our lettuce.   The neighborhood rabbits have been tucking up to the salad bar.  The lettuce was being descimated.

Next-door-neighbor and good friend Angela had covered the lettuce with webbing.  But to no avail.  The mesh had been pulled back and the salad bar was back in business.  Interesting.  Edward Bun is far to tiny to accomplish this.  I see the paw of Oswald, Gentleman Rabbit,  in this escapade.

Oswald resides in a deep, deep, very deep rabbit hole.  His burrow is quite sumptuous.    Oswald does appreciate the good things in life.   He adores throwing spectacular parties.

 

 

And always orders the finest vegetarian food hampers from Fortnum and Mason.   Now he is sharing the very best lettuce with the bunnies on the block.  Our lettuce.

Here’s a little known fact about rabbits.  They only nibble on the early, tender lettuce leaves.  So if Angela and I are going to be able to harvest lettuce for our salads we are going to have to safe guard the tender plants.  The Good Husband has fastened the netting down with tent pegs.   Even Oswald will not be able to pull these up.  We’ve left a lettuce or two for the rabbits for in this world, as in the rabbit world, you must share with others.

Edward Bun will grow up under the sheltering eye of Oswald, Gentleman Rabbit.

In the cold, dark winter nights, deep in the ancient burrow,  they’ll sit in front of the fire in the library.  Oswald will read to him about the ways of the world while they warm their rabbit feet.  Perhaps Edward will grow up and choose to wear a magic coat.

If you haven’t met Oswald, Gentleman Rabbit, read about him and his adventures in the category column on the right.  THE CHRONICLES OF OSWALD, GENTLEMAN RABBIT.

OSWALD, THE GENTLEMAN RABBIT … he indeed exists

Several months ago I began writing a fairy tale for adults.  It is indeed allegorical.   But who is to say it is not real.   Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Those who believe in magic will see Oswald, the gentleman rabbit. Oswald is visible in that split second before he puts his watch in his magic pocket, and takes the human form of  “those-who-live-above”.

My good friend Ellen believes in magic.  Because she believes she sees what non-believers do not.    She discovered Oswald in a crowded gift shop.  He was on this “magic button”.

My long time friend, Biscuit,  who believes in fairies and magic  found Oswald tucked amongst some greeting cards.

Oswald is in my heart and in my soul.   He lights a path for me on dark, dark days.  He takes me away to secret places.  He is my alter ego. I share Oswald’s adventures.

I wrote about Oswald for my own enjoyment.  To my delight I discovered he was also enchanting  many others.  This is the final chapter on BEL’OCCHIO but it is not the end of Oswald.  The Good Husband has encouraged me to turn the adventures of this amazing rabbit into a book or perhaps several books.   In my book  Oswald’s  latest adventure involves rescuing domestic rabbits who have been abandoned by their owners.   The book is a work in progress and it most certainly is a labour of love.

Magic.

It’s everywhere.

You just have to believe.

P.S.  As are many things in fairy tale the beginning of the story of Oswald at the end.  Please scroll way down to read about how Oswald came about.  Then you can read his stories consecutively – or not.

OSWALD, GENTLEMAN RABBIT AND THE WALLED GARDEN

Oswald paused  outside the Walled Garden.  The gate was open.  That in it self was unusual.  The Walled Garden was a safe haven for rabbits.  Those who would do them harm could not enter.    For the first time  in  rabbits memory changes had taken place in the Walled Garden.

Lawns had been replaced with flowers.  Great drifts of flowers hummed with the music of bees.  The most fragrant, pollen-laden flowers had been planted.

Rabbits everywhere in the world above had joined in this cause to bring back  the bees.  They knew without bees the world  could not exist.

Vacant city lots,  boulevards,  country ditches,  abandoned farms ,  the rabbits planted flowers.    Those who lived in The World Above  planted along highways and byways .  Proudly posting signs  like  “this stretch of highway planted by Mabel and Tom Smithers”.

Oswald, gentleman rabbit ,  quietly  watched as the world took  up the rabbits cause.     The meeting with the gardeners of Girveny was a success.   Perhaps, he thought, we rabbits  have indeed  pulled bees out of a hat.

OSWALD DINES WITH OLD FRIENDS FROM GIVERNEY

The dark was closing in.    Oswald moved his chair closer to the fire.  Outside his burrow Oswald heard the wind lashing at the trees.  It was not a fit night for rabbit or man to be about.

He lifted the book he was reading.  Inhaled the aroma of the  leather bindings  and musty pages. He did so love books.  His nose wrinkled and caught an inky aroma.  Old books have such a marvelous perfume.

Rabbits are voracious readers.   Nocturnal by nature they spend hours deep below the earth in their comfortable burrows. Their libraries are vast.  Larger than the largest in the  world above. Older than the oldest books.

Oswald  had been reading  one of his  many books on botany. His library had the largest collection of gardening books in the world.   Everything  that grows  are the responsibility of all rabbits.

Tonight he was dining with old friends from Giverney.  Clad in their magic coats they had worked on the gardens of the old painter for more than one hundred years.  Oswald had a few sketches by him.  Carefully framed they hung above the fireplace.

Pierre worked  in the flower garden,  Clos Normand.  He was particularly fond of irises.  Every fall he carefully divided the flowers and added to the long garden.  Since the sixth  century AD rabbits had cultivated and cared for this flower, a symbol of France.

Jean, on the other side of the road,  laboured in the Japanese Water garden.  This garden and all that was in it was his responsibility.

There was much for these rabbits to discuss.  Tonight it concerned bees, or rather the lack of bees and the consequences.

Oswald looked at his pocket watch.    Even rabbits must make reservations.   For more than  one hundred years Oswald and his two gardening friends had dined at La Fontaine de Mars,  on  Rue Saint-Dominique.   Not much had changed.  Oswald had to  admit  it had taken time to become  accustomed to  the red and white checked tablecloths, but it was so familiar to him.

He reached for his scarlet coat.  Adjusted the ruffles at his throat, then put his  watch in the pocket.

He had arrived   at 129  Rue Saint-Dominique.