Arctic Hare’s Lesson: Big Ears are a Blessing

 by Sandra Rippetoe © 2020
for the wonderful folks at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Once upon a time in the Land-of-Nature’s-Rhyme-and-Reason
in a snowy white spot where everything was freezin’,

an arctic hare made her home on a tundra so cold.
Here’s the story of Furpuff – the first time it’s been told.

She was different, you see, from her kinfolk and friends.
Her ears did not match the acceptable trends.

Each morning she’d say, “My ears are too long.
I wish they were short. They’re totally wrong.”

And this same rabbit had to put up with teasing,
because of those ears she wished were more pleasing.

“Hey basset jack rabbit. Hey donkey,” they’d jeer.
So she spent time alone crying icicle tears.

But with those big ears came talent so giant.
Furpuff could hear things infinitesimally quiet!

She could hear the soft swish of a mouse’s tail tip.
She could hear a night moth’s puddle-landing and sip.

She could hear the tic-tock of a fly’s tiny clock.
She could hear caterpillars as they put on each sock.

She could hear butterflies blowing bubbles with gum.
She could hear beetles chat as they hunted for crumbs.

She could hear polar bees grabbing pollen from flowers.
She could hear damselflies sing loud in their showers.

She could hear birch trees growing – small, medium, and tall.
She could even hear leaves turning color in fall.

One day in her den which was in a snow mound,
her ears perked straight up. It was the teeniest sound . . .

a forlorn desperate plea from a voice that was hoarse.
She looked high and low, but could not find the source.

Furpuff then decided, “he clearly needs help.
In each cranny and nook, I’ll search for this ‘yelp’.”

From minutes to hours, from days to a week,
never giving up, that small sound she did seek.

She hopped to the top of a mountain so steep.
Thick snow had fallen – it was 14 feet deep!

Did that stop Furpuff? No, no! She kept going
‘til soon she reached water . . . snuck on a boat stowing.

“Who’s making that yelp? I will not be mired.
I won’t stop. I won’t sleep, no matter how tired.”

Finally . . . at last . . .she found that small voice –
a snow pool mosquito. Furpuff jumped and rejoiced,

“I live far far away, but your desperate pleading
was picked up by my ears. What are you needing?”

“I’m sorry for yelling. My name is zzzzz-Zory.
Thank goodness you heard me. I’ll tell you my story.”

Zory whined softly, “No reason for fright.
I won’t make you itchy – I’m male. I don’t bite.”

“The wind is so strong here. It blows me around –
sometimes in low valleys, sometimes on high ground.”

“I just want the chance to live out my life.
Then, I’ll be quiet. You won’t hear any strife.”

“I pollinate orchids. That’s what I’m for.
Please help me to safety. I’ll yelp – not once more.”

Furpuff’s nose twitched – it wrinkled her face,
“Come live with me. There’s room at my place.”

“I’ve even got orchids in the woods near my home.
Your purpose achieved . . . without far to roam.”

She secured her new friend in a cozy tuft of hair.
They had miles to go to get back to the lair.

A strange couple they were, but they got along fine.
They rarely argued, well, except when they dined.

That snow pool mosquito thanked the hare every day.
If you listen closely, you might hear him say,

“Because of your ears, I’m here!  I’m alive!”    
They both felt so blessed. And . . . the orchids did thrive.