Friday, February 1, 2013

The Three Hares

What: Welcome to a new series of posts I'm calling "The Three Hares". On the first of each month I'll be posting a 15 second video of the same spot. My sister and I went out to Centennial Woods yesterday to scout out a place to film. It was a little daunting because in ten years from now I want to reflect back and be happy with my choice. I wanted the spot to be open and have water flowing through it. I wound up choosing two perspectives in case the sumacs in the above video block out the perspective. Enjoy!

Where: The confluence of Centennial and Wool Pullery Brooks.  

Other notes: The Three Hares name is a riff on Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit (also "White Rabbit") - a superstition that started in the early 1900s. Supposedly, saying the phrase (or some iteration of it) before anything else on the first of the month brings good luck. The iconic three hares motif (a depiction of three hares chasing each other in a circle, each sharing an ear with the other two rabbits) may be the inspiration for the superstition. The three hares motif is an ancient Chinese symbol, with the first known etching dating to the 6th century. Most of the ancient examples are along the Silk Road, and there's speculation that the motif was brought to Europe by merchant traders in the 15th century. The symbol is featured in prominent places in a number of churches in England.

Rabbits are often seen as a symbol of good fortune, and I can imagine a little English child sitting in church learning about all the ways she'd done wrong, sinning and such, and felt like she needed a little bit of good luck on a dreary winter day. Perhaps she'd imagine follow a most curious white beast down its rabbit hole. Much like the Easter bunny brought tidings of spring, warmth, love, rejuvenation, the rabbit of her imagination would bring her hope, happiness, and warmth. Since she couldn't get a rabbit's foot to wear as an amulet, she and her younger brother came up with a little ceremony to ward of bad spirits for the whole of the month. It offered risk and adventure - what if they forgot - would they be cursed? - and also made all those odd symbols around the church make a little more sense, at least in their own little way. So some creative license, but why not. Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit.

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