It is five months later, and a lot has changed since then: I own the car, my mother is off the apartment lease, and we still don’t speak. I can’t believe that it was snowy in May, and I further can’t believe that I’m back in the Christmas spirit before Summer is officially out. My father has my phone number, but I was forced to block my mother after she got a hold of it. He continues to insist that I “talk to her” about “whatever it is”, because surely it must be “in the past”. Historically she’s been terrible at listening to me, so talking will probably not work and I have little interest in it, regardless. I learned from him some of the facts of the three years or so in which the lawsuit, Mom’s cancer, and Dad’s arrest were so tangled up that I could not pick them apart.
However: I also learned that he sees himself as a hopeless victim and still has a “woe is me” mindset, but there is no chance in hell that his wife is any sort of crazy wicked beast, at all. None.
I still consider those principles true (even though I have yet to find any proper evidence still, but perhaps that will be a later “Rabbit Rabbit” post). Perhaps I will add to the list, things like: “The only purpose in fighting a war is to end it” (which is more “soldier” than “warrior”, but I have never held any delusions about glory in battle and bloodshed). It is a slowly growing list that I might make a page on, distilling each down to a fairly simple explanation, hopefully.
And, as “Rabbit Rabbit” is curse breaking, I may endeavor to make more of these posts, on the first of every month, discussing aspects of the journey, contemplating life, maybe expounding on these principles. Time will tell.
Specifically these designs, from the Night Vale tarot deck.
Jackson Hole News & Guide, March 13, 2019 pg. 3A
A white-tailed jackrabbit, pictured here in early March, has been frequenting the Miller Butte area of the National Elk Refuge. It’s the first verified sighting on the refuge in 56 years.
Repeated sighting of lone lagomorph marks its first appearance in decades. By Mike Koshmrl
A hefty and exceedingly rare hare has been making its home near the base of Miller Butte for much of the winter.
On several occasions National Elk Refuge staff have spotted a winter-whitened, white-tailed jackrabbit, which is among the rarest native mammals in Jackson Hole.
“It’s been hunkered near the buildings and some of our equipment,” Elk Refuge spokeswoman Lori Iverson said.
Iverson, who has spotted and photographed the white jack, theorized that it might be hanging tight near the Elk Refuge’s autoshop at the base of Miller Butte’s north face to take shelter from predators, such as coyotes that frequent the nearby flats. The area is off-limits to the general public.
White-tailed jackrabbits rarely frequent the Elk Refuge. There have only been three verified occurrences ever, the last being 56 years ago, in 1963, though there was an uncomfirmed sighting scratched into Elk Refuge records in the winter of 1990-91.
“All the confirmed sightings have been in the winter,” Iverson said, “except for 1959, and that was in the summer.”
Diet analyses of coyotes and observations from settlers and biologists suggest that the species was commonplace in Jackson Hole through the first half of the 20th century.
In 20 years of traipsing around Jackson Hole as a nongame biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department before retiring last fall, Susan Patla never stumbled upon a white-tailed jackrabbit, the largest of the valley’s three rabbit and hare species. The others are snowshoe hares, a big-footed inhabitant of conifer forests, and mountain cottontail, which like white-tailed jackrabbits predominantly dwell in sagebrush environments.
“I’ve seen them in Pinedale and Teton Valley,” Patla said, “but I didn’t see any in the direct Jackson Hole area.”
“They’re probably one of those animals that have microhabitat needs that we don’t really understand well,” she said.
A solitary species, white-tailed jackrabbits weigh in at a hefty 6 to 10 pounds, turn white in winter and can typically be found in open prairie-like environments. Their most important food source is sagebrush, according to guidebooks.
Although research relating to white-tailed jackrabbits is decidedly slim on the whole, there have been some local examinations. Former Teton Valley resident and conservation biologist Joel Berger took an interests in the animal’s decline around the turn of the century and convened a workshop about the issue. Berger published recommendations that emerged from the gathering of biologists in a 2006 technical report, “Where have all the rabbits gone?”
The paper postulates that Jackson Hole’s jackrabbits might have been a satellite population connected to more robust populations in the Gros Ventre and Green River drainages that eventually were extirpated. Severe winters, disease, predation, human persecution, habitation change, competition for food with ungulates and chance were all possible – though impossible to test after the fact – causes of the disappearance. Infrequent observations in modern times hint that neutral recolonization would be “unlikely to occur,” wrote Berger, who alluded to the possibility of reintorducing the lagomorphs to Grand Teton National Park.
In a 2004 News&Guide “Guest Shot,” Berger implored wildlife managers and scientists to get a grip on white white-tailed jackrabbits seem to have gone missing.
“Should we fail to cast our net widely, lack foresight that involves thinking beyond rabbits or grouse or pronghorn as individual species, and conduct business as usual instead of treating the well being of the sage-grass ecosystem in Jackson Hole in its entirety, we can be assured of one thing,” Berger wrote. “Our future will still include a park, its land and their inhabitants. But a new generation of visitors will inherit a system that is no longer as rich, as vibrant or dynamic as the one we have today.”
I know that Andred has little to do with this holiday, as far as evidence has come down to us of her existence (the only reason we know who She is, is, well, here). However, hares are a symbol of the season (in part because it looked like they reproduced asexually, but there’s also that whole “fucking like rabbits” thing and that rabbits are…prolific little bastards).
I found this image, which inspired the post:
And then ran a google search and found some more:
I heard from someone online that they post “rabbit rabbit” or a variant thereof on the first of every month for good luck. It may well be good luck, rabbits and hares are associated with such, but I also find myself reminded of Andred each time this comes up. Like a little regular reminder about how She watches over me, keeps tabs on me, and wants the best for me.
Due to recent events, I’m quite pleased to receive this reminder. I got into an altercation with my physical mother, who then decided to treat the incident as if I were being a rebellious teenager and not trying to defend myself. Both parents are in on the stupid game and have, among other things, two cars in their driveway and on their property that they do not have need for, but for whatever reason cannot or will not get rid of. Lately it gets me thinking about the saying, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” Text messages about how I need to do XYZ and ABC will happen by such and such date and I cannot do yada yada yada that read like bluster about how they are still in charge, and I’m being insolent, play into this theme as well, for now I’ve switched phone numbers and post office boxes, the access to which they will be denied.
I’ve also come to understand a couple of deep principles about interpersonal relations, which I suspect, but have yet to find evidence for, are bits and pieces from ancient codes for warriors, chivalric and otherwise. First is:
You are less of a man if you do not take up for your flesh and blood
The biggest problem I’ve had with my father the past several years is his inability to stick up for me, his actual daughter, and his constant siding with his second wife, my mother, despite her long string of abuses and crimes. So long she even has a record for some of them, despite denying fault to this day and perhaps to Judgment Day, as well. Yet, he quit drinking exclusively so she would not leave him, and either buries himself in work or simply decides that her word is law, in spite of his “man of the house” act.
The thing is, the person you marry is surprisingly little to do with you. It’s someone you fell in love with, and while that can be a wonderful thing, and a healthy couple will find a place for each other should need arise, unhealthy couples are different. When one person is abusive or neglectful or has their head in a bottle of booze, the other has to think about their children. And no, “staying together for the children” does not work in a case like this. The kids will grow up and wish you left. When it comes down to it, if you don’t choose your children over this crazy that you married, then you deserve the crazy.
It also ties into themes I’ve read about of protecting the innocent, and leaving alone those who cannot defend themselves. Hunters, alien and otherwise, do not kill offspring and females if they can help it, and warriors are often those who protect defenseless individuals from harm (or further harm, depending on the situation). If you knowingly stay in an unhealthy, abusive marriage with your children, rather than leave and take them with you, then, to coin a phrase, you are no warrior.
(Shameless Doctor Who plug because I can. Though let’s face it, he was oversimplistic to a fault when he dropped that line; Graham is a warrior of a different sort.)
The second aforementioned principle is:
The use of passive aggressive tactics makes you look like a wet blanket who is unable to handle any problems him/herself.
This in part developed as I processed a rather lengthy chunk of dialogue in a comic I’m reading, part of a larger debate on mankind and its relationship with nature, on Earth and otherwise. But I was able to relate this particular section to my own life and my own changing understanding. See, the point to this section was less that the “old ways” were a kind of idyllic pastoral Arcadia that we for whatever reason abandoned, but rather that we were as violent as ever, but more direct about it. The world was also violent and dangerous, and the measure of a person was how well they handled it.
People also, according to this, fought each other directly for standing, or to sort out disagreements. To quote: “But if I bust a guy’s chops he clearly understands that I don’t like what he’s doing.” These days, elaborated slightly earlier in the exchange, people are sneaky and underhanded, going around direct confrontation to get what they want because it’s seen as, perhaps, more “moral.” But human nature is human. I think there’s a good bit of truth to this. Civilization exists to minimize confrontation between individuals, and that actually might be a bad thing.
Without the avenue of confrontation, what’s left are passive aggressive tactics, or being honest and keeping your head down. The latter approach is fine, except for those with ambition. The former approach is where I, personally, have run into problems. Both of my parents are fond of passive aggression as a means to get what they want, instead of outright asking, demanding, or so on. It comes off confusing, and after a while of it, annoying and exceptionally stupid. What’s the point of expending effort being passive aggressive when first, it usually fails to get you what you want; second, it gets people mad at you; and third, it makes you look like someone uncomfortable with direct confrontation. Hitting someone you have power over is one thing, but when the playing field is level, the game has changed.
The differences between myself and my mother, and the way we both engage with the world, has left a few things up for debate between us. She likes it that way, but I don’t. I never have (not in grade school with a dumbass boy playing tag, and not now). Perhaps I live by older rules, taught by my True Mother as a way to properly live. I have no idea how I would fare in an older society run by them, but I would at least feel like I understand it.
A jackalope is a local legend where I’m from, and is said to be a jackrabbit with the horns of a pronghorn or antelope. The name is a portmanteau of “jackrabbit” and “antelope”, though a jackrabbit is another name for a hare, and a pronghorn is actually a type of deer. They are said to be the product of male hares and female antelope, and only mate with each other during lightning strikes (and also that their horns get in the way during the process, which implies that the female of the species also possesses them). Also called “the warrior rabbit” (though once again, a jackrabbit is not actually a rabbit), they are known to charge at people and take their legs out from under them, and gore them with the horns.
Can be lured with whiskey, and are exceptional mimics of human voices, a skill they use to elude capture.
I bring all this up because jackalopes came up in therapy today as a means for me to help process some of my baggage. I associate them with Andred in a roundabout way through Her association with hares and the relatedness of hares and jackalopes, and so during session they became Her symbol and Her weapon against my abusers. In my head, they swarmed and attacked through overwhelming, primarily. I’m sure they left a bloody mess behind, but I wasn’t around long enough to see it. That wasn’t the point of the exercise. But it did help me see the relatedness of the two, and bring Andred and I closer.
More on Jackalopes: