Symbols of fertility, are they not? Bunnies, I mean. Now translated into Lindt’s best milk chocolate, these integral aspects of Easter/Eostre have gained in popularity in recent years – and are just as likely to be the main gift as their equally symbolic counterpart, the Easter Egg!
Perhaps they were chosen because they are such a prolifically reproducing part of Spring’s gorgeous light, explosions of green and sense of hope as everything creaks and groans, stretches and sniffs air for the first time in months, mates, ruts and comes back to vivid life again, bringing new buds, kits, pups and babies into a suddenly beautiful world.
My very own bunny, Pippa – who, other than her soft whiteness, could have been the original model for the luscious Lindt one! – has very much got into the spirit of her kind and of gravid Spring.
Now, I have no reason to suspect that she is harbouring a bellyful of kits, or that a rampant wild male leaped over her fragile barrier and into her most privy parts; in fact, on balance, it is all far more likely to be a Phantom Job – but the fact remains that she is behaving like an Expectant Mother, an Enceinte Female, A Rabbit with a Tray full of Buns in the Oven.
So, on Maundy Thursday, she took to a form of grooming which is so extreme that she appears to have removed her first layer of fur in bunches and bundles. I woke yesterday to a bedroom (hers, not mine, I hasten to add) containing a straw nest embellished with much soft white ’embroidery’ and scraps of this natural material strewn about her Living Room and outside play area.
She looked decidedly slimmer – so, heart in mouth, I looked closer, wondering if I would see a scattering of tiny bunnies in amongst the bedding.
No sign. I was torn between relief and an odd haunting sadness for this Desperate to be a Mummy creature. The sap is rising. Oestrogen is, most aptly, on the boil amongst the distaff side! Sex hormones are in the air. By making her nest, my big bun is only doing what is natural – and there’s a part of me that says, ‘Hey, she should have her chance at kits too!’
I would guess that she is fertile. She is young and hasn’t had the incision from which there is no reproductive return – and, let’s face it, a really determined and horny buck could easily burrow under her fence and have his wicked way!
I am not sure – not being a rabbit myself! – whether her display of apparently maternal zeal is a sign of life within (whether real or imagined) – or whether it is a doe of her species’ way of saying, to all wandering males, ‘Hello, Big Boy! Is that a carrot or are you just pleased to see me?’
Would I mind if she were impregnated? Yes – and no. The logistics of a load of bunnies shakes me rather. On the other hand, it could be that such an outcome would be devoutly desired and, for all I know, Pippa has the makings of the equivalent of our Earth Mother – and to deprive her of her chance at Motherhood could be construed as a cruel and unnatural act!
Happy Eostre! Happy Easter! Enjoy this warm and wonderful Spring day!