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