6th July 2011
I missed the Café this week. It was closed. But even as I felt a sad reaction to seeing the empty verandah and the large door bolted against the outside world, I felt a little admiration for the Café owner. In the face of a very commercial world full of expectation and regulation, she recognized her own need for a break, and took it. With so much happening of late, both known and unknown to those of us who look on, she honoured her own self and had some time off. Everyone involved in the Café gets a “breather” which is welcome in many ways…. Not the least of which is to recharge batteries, and ensure their return, fresh and ready to deliver more of the classic Tearoom magic.
How often do you see a business or commercial enterprise, put second before the wellbeing of the person running it? Not often! I think it is commendable that someone can recognize and take care of their own “self” in the face of the service or product they offer to the world. No sacrifice for customers or dollars should come at a price to one’s own health and happiness. I also hope that most wise customers, either potential or regular, would respect this.
I remember many years ago, driving to town to have some work done by local picture framers, only to find their shop unexpectedly closed in the middle of the day. On the door was a sign explaining that they were on holidays for two weeks, and apologizing for the inconvenience. My initial reaction, naturally, was annoyance, but only for a moment, as when I stopped and thought about it, I discovered I really liked the concept of these unknown proprietors placing their own happiness and health as equal in priority to their business, able to close if necessary, their own shop, in order to “have a life”. The more I thought about it, the more I admired such a stance, and because they were wise enough to do this, in a world where far too many people focus their energy on the almighty dollar, to the detriment of their own lives and wellbeing, I made the decision that I would support them more once they returned. And that is what I did.
So things are quiet down at the Old Post Office Tearooms this week, but inspiration always flows. Although I have not been in to collect the latest cafe offerings, I have another poem from “the Angel lady” who leaves her little messages on the notepads…. deeply appreciated by the staff and any who read them…
If you feel in the dead of night
A kiss upon your cheek,
There could be an angel there
Watching as you sleep.
Can you hear a soft voice
Whispering words to you?
When you feel uncertain
They will tell you what to do.
Do you hear the singing?
Golden voices near,
Such a lovely song,
Wonderful to hear.
When at last you wake,
Hold onto your dream for a while,
As you journey through the day,
It will make you smile!
So although I missed the café, it gave me time to deal with a little matter here at home. We’ve been having a bit of a showdown at my house.
It’s between me, and one very tiny baby rabbit…. A wild rabbit at that.
As of this morning, the score was something like “rabbit – 3, wendy – 2.”
It all started earlier this week, when I went out to the laundry, and discovered all three of my cats plus my terrier pup, darting around the room, amidst the contents of water bowls, food dishes and cat litter trays, and a lot of ripped up wet newspaper and spilled cat biscuits. Frankly, it was one helluva mess. Upon closer investigation, I found a baby rabbit huddled behind the vacuum cleaner, terrified and wet. Obviously the old cat had caught it out in the bush (over five hundred metres away from my house) carried it home and brought it into the house to do that evil cat thing that felines do to hapless prey.
The little thing was not giving up without a fight however, and even as I shut the other animals away, I had a struggle to catch it, with it crawling under my washing machine – I had to do some heavy lifting to get it out.
Finally wrapped in a cloth, the tiny baby was ‘safe’ in my hands, its little eyes wide, it’s nose twitching, and little heart beating rapidly. I was faced with a dilemma – what was I going to do with it? There was no way I could allow the cats to kill it! (While I love my cats, I do my best to keep them from ever killing anything but the occasional mouse). And being a baby, I could not just put it outside, as the weather was cold and wet. I also had no idea where it had come from, so I could not take it out to the bush and dump it, as other animals would drive it away or even kill it. So I called the wildlife rescue people and they informed me that rabbits were not ‘wildlife’, and they could not help me, and that they doubted anyone would because “rabbits were pests”.
You can imagine the reaction here on the farm! Save a rabbit? I was sure I heard laughter from all directions. There has not been a day on this land, that rabbits were not the target of every hunter young and old! Generations of farmers have declared war on the humble little bunny, dating right back to my grandfather’s day when a faded old news clipping told the story of how with the introduction of the 1080 poison, my grandfather and father, went out and collected over 500 dead rabbits in the paddocks in one day. No… I was not going to get any assistance, or my little rabbit any sympathy, here on the farm either.
My children, of course, were totally predictable too – “Can we keep it for a pet?”. To be honest, I did not like its chances of survival. In the past, wild creatures that have been caught by a cat, do not survive. Wild creatures rescued by humans, rarely survive, especially if they have been injured or are in shock. I knew this little one was definitely in shock, and possibly injured. It lay very still in my hands, and I felt that after such a traumatic day, all I could wish for this little bunny, was for it to have a peaceful place to die surrounded by a little kindness.
I put it in a high sided washing basket for the night, all snuggled up in a soft blanket, and in the warm living room. I warned the children that it would more than likely die during the night, but at least it would do so in warmth, quiet and dignity.
However the rabbit had other ideas. I was awoken in the night by a lot of rustling in my bedroom, and sat up with a fright, thinking “the rats are back” (that’s another story!). Then there was a lot of scuffling. I went out to the living room and the basket was empty. The rabbit had been resurrected, and decided to take matters into its own hands…. or paws. But now, it was somewhere in my house, and yet – nowhere to be seen.
I did a search of all the rooms, but found no clue. I ended up having to go back to bed and leave it wherever it had gone to hide.
The next day I put some carrots and lettuce out in my kitchen. I had to know whether it was dead or alive, and make an effort to find it, as the kids and I hunted through the house all day and found no sign of it.
The food disappeared. That was a positive sign. Over the next few days, I put food out on the kitchen floor twice a day and it always disappeared, though I never saw the rabbit. I was surprised at just how much food got eaten too….no matter how much I put out, it all disappeared! I blocked the doorways to all the other rooms so I could contain the little creature in the kitchen. (Mind you, the thought of a stinky wild rabbit making its mess in my kitchen was not a pleasant image.) I borrowed a cage with a trap door and rigged it with a carrot. Two days went by and the carrot got eaten but the trap remained open. No rabbit. (Smart rabbit).
Then last night, I heard a rattle. At last, there in the cage was this tiny little rabbit, huddled in a corner looking very dejected.
“Aah – there you are” I said. “Your poor little thing”, and approached the cage. It did not move, its eyes were almost closed and it did not look happy. Being the middle of the night and quite cold, I took pity on it in the wire cage and opened one end to place an old cloth in there for it to sleep on. Before I could react, it shot up the cage to the tiny opening and squeezed out, even as I tried to grab it with my hand. Then it was out and off across the kitchen and under the nearest piece of furniture. Free again!
So we were back to square one and I was sure it would never venture into that cage again.
(24 hours later)
Fortunately, we did entice the little rodent back into the trap with literally, a carrot on a stick, and now our bunny friend is safely caged, eating and enjoying all the good foods from my fridge. I still don’t know what to do with this impromptu houseguest, as it’s a juggle keeping the dog and cats from pressing their nasty faces up against the bars, and the cage is really very small. I think the plan for now is to borrow a rabbit pen, and keep our little bunny until it is a little older, and the weather is warmer, then release it into the bush somewhere far from the farm. By then I am sure it will be fat and happy and have worked out that not all humans are frightening…