Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rabbit Loves the Sun; Dandelion Loves the Bee


Life in rural New Mexico surprises me almost daily, showing me how many assumptions I have about the other creatures I share the land with.

I was crossing a dirt and gravel road the other day and noticed a wild rabbit sitting almost right in the middle of it.

Just sitting there, in plain sight of any passing eagle or hawk. It was surrounded by gravel and dust. There's nothing rabbits eat growing on the local roads.

I couldn't help but wonder about this situation and so I stopped too, and stood there while the rabbit sat maybe 30 feet away.

Then, as I watched this creature's body language, it dawned on me.

This rabbit was sunning itself. It seemed to be particularly enjoying spreading its ears into the sun.

It was enjoying a nice sit out in the road, getting itself warm and toasty. Maybe that rabbit was storing up some heat for the cool night ahead. At an 8,000 feet altitude, the sun is intense during the day, and then the temperature drops every night, without fail. Not like summer heat waves on the east coast at all, where it can stay very hot for days and nights on end.

We both lingered for a while, enjoying some rays, and then the rabbit, for reasons of its own, which I certainly did not understand, flashed the white underside of its tail as it ran into the bushes at the roadside.

Here's a cottontail doing its thing in California desert: ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

About a week ago, I was sitting on my outdoor porch one morning having breakfast. A bee showed up and landed on a dandelion flower close by.

I was idly watching, when a little bolt of awareness shot through me. The dandelion flower was actually moving, as far as I could tell, in response to the bee.

It was spreading itself wider and also angling itself so that it made a nicer landing pad for bees flying in from the direction this one had come from.

My impression was that the dandelion was seriously enjoying this visitor, and several more pollinators (insects I couldn't identify) showed up after the first bee left. Perhaps because of the strong signal the dandelion started broadcasting with the first bee?

I can't prove anything here "scientifically." I know how I felt as I saw the flower and the bee together, and it was a very good feeling.

Like the bee, I also really like eating dandelions. If you're interested in a recipe for dandelion pesto, you'll find it here.

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