Travels of an Arctic Hare, Part Five: Dling Feigns

Dling stayed still, making himself as small as he could.

“Little bunny?”

Dling dashed from his oil barrel trap, straight through Maggie’s wobbly legs.

“There he goes!” hare runAbraham charged after him, his breath coming out in burps and phlegm. Dling darted through the Arctic Willow and Bearberry, spun through the boulders along a long ridge and to another great beach. IMG_3334He leaped between ice chunks, his paws slipping and skidding, and caught the edge of a small iceberg and climbed to its tiny shoulder. Abraham steamed into the water, old and stumbling, and pulled himself onto the iceberg; he had a gun. “Rabbit!” rifleDling knew that he was in trouble and that shrinking himself down wouldn’t be enough. He sprang onto the open ice, exposed to the vastness, and seeing Abraham barreling after him, collapsed and feigned death. hare rolling“Careful out there, Abraham!” Maggie screeched. “That ice is no good.”

“I know what I’m doing!” Abraham slid his feet out, creeping along the edge, wheezing and burping, and was right there.

“Watch that bunny! He’s a sneaky little bastard!”

“I know it.” Abraham reached out to grab Dling, the hairy crooked fingers just touching his paw, when the ice broke. IMG_3415Abraham was in the water, thrashing and gasping. Dling jumped away and clicked his teeth in excitement; that was his hare laugh.

“You little bastard! You little rotten bunny!” Maggie waved her white wobbly arms. “I’ll get you!”

The water stayed dark. Abraham never came up. And Maggie cried after him. “Abraham! Don’t leave me here!”

Dling hopped along the open ice, balanced himself across the gaps and climbed to the next iceberg to consider his happiness once again.IMG_3312

Travels of an Arctic Hare, Part Four: Dling Goes Off

Dling, the Arctic Hare, drifted on his iceberg for days and days. It was always light.IMG_3217He was happy tucked alone into his icy alcove, watching the world drift past, but thought too much about what happiness really was and that made him less happy than when he had started thinking about it. The iceberg became caught on the rocky bottom and so Dling got off. The beach was long and rocky. Pieces of ice lined the sand. IMG_3414He sat in the sun, thinking, and the whole issue of happiness came up again, and so he ran up the steep sandy slopes to get his head to shut up. He scurried up through the  Arctic Willow and Bearberry. IMG_3402He climbed and ran around the boulders and darted through a long line of oil barrels that went and found himself face to face with a wobbly looking old woman. “Hello, little bunny.” IMG_3411Dling shrunk himself down.

“You’re a funny bunny. A funny bunny! Don’t be scared, funny bunny. I’m your friend.. My name’s Maggie. What’s yours?”

“What you got there?” A scratchy squeaky voice asked behind her.

“It’s a bunny! A funny bunny.”

“Get him in here.”

“He’s scared.” She turned back to Dling. “Aren’t you?” kijohare

“It’s okay, funny bunny. You can come join us when you like. You can have some nice warm willow soup.”

Dling didn’t move. He didn’t even like willow soup. Maggie’s big face vanished. But Dling could still hear her whisper. “He’s scared.”

“Of course he’s scared, Margaret. He’s a rabbit. He knows we’re going to eat him.”

“Shh. You have to be quiet, Abraham.”

“I am being quiet.”

Dling backed straight slowly away and then realized he was trapped. IMAG2918The oil barrels were everywhere.


Travels of an Arctic Hare, Part Three: Dling Makes Haste

Dling wanted to stretch out his legs, but he didn’t. He held himself tight. He was going to stay just as he was until he sorted everything out in his head. IMAG2902He remembered his search for Gigo. He had climbed up to Gigo’s special place for watching the ice fall but he wasn’t there. Dling climbed higher and sideways and then down again. That was when he saw the gray-tinged paw sticking out from the ice. IMAG2882 Gigo had been crushed. Dling rushed down to tell the others and was shocked to see an eagle towering over Piff. Dling was about to kick rocks at it when he saw that Piff was feeding the bird with the red berries and sticky branches. And then Stub was behind him, kicking him down. This was where it became very difficult to remember. Dling jumped up the rocks. Stub punched his paws at him and Kijo was there too, her eyes red and crazy. The bird whirled up, swinging its great wings around and tore straight at Dling. A tame golden eagle swoops down on a hare during a traditional hunting contest near the town of KarkaralinskDling’s paws barely touched the rocks and ice as the claws caught his ears and shoulder and spun him upside down and down in fluffy, bumpy ball. hare rollingHe went around and around until he crashed into this place and stayed still, hunched and quiet. The shadows swirled over his head and the thumping of feet thundered all around, and then it was quiet. And he waited. IMG_3398He finally stretched out his legs and stood up on his hind legs. There was no one. No bird or hare to be seen. And the Great Water was just down below, an iceberg too. IMAG2865He went down to that and waited for the water to carry him off to a better place.

Travels of an Arctic Hare, Part Two: Not As it Seems

Dling didn’t sleep. IMAG2902There was a moment when he thought he might but his leg was tight and he had to stretch it out. And then it was the other one. And there was something wrong with his stomach. There was the constant light too. It seemed to get darker for a moment, but that was only a cloud. IMG_3190There was no dark in this land. He liked the idea of that, but he couldn’t sleep. He just couldn’t. He thought back to Piff. She had seemed kind. But there was something else about how she was always in the same place, in her corner, somehow scared, staring out, distant. Their first session of wiggling had went well. The little ones liked it. Stub and Kijo seemed happy. They shared their red berries with Dling and wiggled their noses crazily. The next session didn’t go as well. Kijo didn’t like Dling’s wiggling any more. She thought it wasn’t wiggling at all. She called it twitching. Stub had lost interest in wiggling and played with a young hare’s ears instead, who sighed nervously at being touched like that. arctic_hare5Piff stayed in her corner. The next session was worse. Dling showed his nose wiggling to a young hare near Kigo, who then stamped her foot and jumped away. Piff sat in her corner, and Stub was gone. Dling jumped up the moraine and found Gigo looking over the glacier. Dling tried to explain his concerns to Gigo, but Gigo only wiggled his nose. He loved his view of the glacier and waited for a piece of ice to fall off. IMG_3389He was very happy when he did that. Dling told him about Piff and Kijo, and most of all Stub, but Gigo only watched the glacier, waiting for another piece to fall. Dling returned to find Piff, Kijo and Stub in a tight huddle. They broke apart, bits of sticky red flowers falling from their mouths. Piff’s paws shook badly as she explained that Dlng’s wiggling wasn’t wiggling but twitching and couldn’t be taught anymore. The little ones came to Dling the next day and asked to be taught how to wiggle their noses, which he did. And that’s when everything went very bad. Kijo bit him and Stub stomped on his tail. arctic-hares-fightingAnd Piff watched from her corner. Dling knew that he should leave but he liked the young ones. He decided to visit Gigo one more time.

Travels of an Arctic Hare, Part One: Landfall

Dling sat quietly by the rock. It was difficult to think. It wasn’t his brain so much as how he felt; he was confused.IMAG2902 He didn’t understand why he was in this place, by this rock. It wasn’t a question of existence or anything like that, but more how everything had happened so fast. He tried to think back and remembered Gigo. kijohareGigo had seemed like a nice hare, even if he was always wiggling his nose. Dling thought back to the huddle by the glacier and all of the little hares, or leverets as Poof called them. Arctic Hare BabiesShe was an old hare, and her paws shook. He remembered Kijo too and Stub; he shuddered thinking about them. And then the bird, its wings acres wide, its claws out, grabbing at him. greenland eagleDling huddled up closer to the rock and closed his eyes to go through everything in his head, step by step.

He wiggled his nose to start. He was a good nose wiggler; he had taught others to wiggle their noses. He was liked for that. Dling was also a wanderer and was always getting lost until one day he was on an iceberg, looking over the Great Water and the approach of light. cropped-IMG_3221.jpgAnd then he found himself adrift and went further and further out until there was nothing but water and ice all around. IMG_3169 He dug into the snow and found a mound of dirt and rocks with frozen grass and burrowed into that. He suddenly felt terribly alone.

There were many dreams after that – foxes with teeth in their paws, flocks of blue and green birds, whales with spikes on their heads. NARWHALAnd then Gigo was there, wiggling his nose at Dling. They crawled off the iceberg onto land; Gigo wiggled his nose the whole time. kijohareHe led Dling to a huddle of hares at the edge of the field of ice, where water ran over white and red berries with sticky branches. IMAG2933The biggest hare’s name was Poof; she wiggled her nose at Dling and pushed him a berry. Dling watched her paws shake as she got more of the berries and then introduced him to Stubs and Kijo. Stubs got very excited and wiggled his nose wildly; Kigo was small and had crossed-up eyes. Poof decided that they would teach the leverets Dling’s way of nose wiggling. They would all do that together.

Dling remembered this oddly, how they were so nice, so long ago, like it had never happened, like he was still on the iceberg, maybe even dead. But he wasn’t. He was by the rock. IMAG2902And he would have to think through what happened next if he would ever make sense of it. He would do that after he slept. He tried not to think about it. If he did that, he would never get his brain to slow down. He thought about the light on the water instead. IMG_3190