My Teacher Was a Cottontail Rabbit

 Photo by Maxine Billings

A few years ago we rescued a wild cottontail rabbit whom I later came to call Teacher. Brought into the house in less than perfect condition by our beloved dog Boomer, we spent several days nursing the rabbit back to health.

Caring for Teacher meant feeding many times a day, protecting it from the cat and dog who considered it “lunch” rather than “pet.” We had to block off certain areas of the house to make sure it was safe, adding to an already full life. On the other hand, this little creature was beautiful, tiny, open to being fed with an eyedropper, and to being held against my heart.

Having taken care of a wild rabbit before for a couple of years, we agonized about whether or not to keep it, whether it could survive in the wild after ten days in captivity since rabbits are quickly independent and shun human contact, whether we could handle again the demands of such a delicate pet. We talked, we cried, we changed our minds. The days went by.

Suddenly, one afternoon, I was literally propelled from the chair where I had been sitting. NOW!!! Release Teacher now! I jumped up, took Sam the cat’s kennel, stuffed it full of goodies and water, and took this tiny creature outside on a hill near the house. With the whole family pitching in we found a relatively safe spot not too far away from the house, and hopefully not too close to the ubiquitous coyotes that roam our yard in the night, and we let Teacher go. We knew the coyotes were hungry too and had to eat, but hoped beyond hope that they would let this little creature live.

As we stood on the balcony crying, hoping we had made the right decision, straining for a glimpse of our rabbit, this special creature came right up to the balcony, in plain sight and just yards away, and began to frolic in the dirt right under our noses! It ran up and down right next to the fence, rolling over on its back, digging up dirt, hopping all over the place.

Right then and there, in the midst of our tears, we all broke out laughing.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me out of that cage! I’m fine, I’m at home and having a wonderful time.” We felt and heard Teacher communicating with us. This rabbit had particular markings, especially since Boomer had wounded it, and its gait was not yet steady.

There was no doubt in any of our minds that this rabbit knew us, traveled across the yard to greet and thank us, and taught us all a little lesson about limits. Given the hectic pace of our lives at the time it would have been hard to keep this rabbit. We learned that there was no betrayal in letting it go, and that by being true to ourselves and responding to that profound and forceful inner voice that said “NOW!!! Release teacher now!” we also supported the fulfillment of our tiny and beloved Teacher.

Later that evening I went for a walk on the dirt road in front of our house in Santa Fe. Still a bit sad, I followed a hunch and walked off the emotion of the day.
As I approached the house returning from my walk, something prompted me to look up at the sky. It was a subtle tug this time, not the dramatic push of earlier in the day that made me set Teacher free. This time it was a gentle sigh, soft and easy, like the sigh that comes just before going into trance.

There, above my head in the early evening sky, was a GIGANTIC cloud in the complete and perfectly shaped form of a cottontail rabbit! I knew Teacher was fine, and I knew Teacher was an ally in my own learning.

This time intuition did not come in the form of a traditional “spirit guide” or disembodied human-like entity. This time my teacher was a rabbit, and its lesson was guided by intuition.

Had I not paid attention to the jolt to release the rabbit “NOW,” had I failed to notice the subtle prompts to take a walk tonight (something I have not done on that portion of our road since), had I not stopped to look at the sky before going up the stairs and back into the house, this series of most remarkable experiences, this turning point in my life, might not have happened at that time. Without learning something about limits from Teacher, I might have resisted the impulse to take well-deserved time for myself and might not have come to Aruba to write this book.

It is only in those realms outside of time and space that these things make sense…in the realm of intuition and the implicate order, holding together seemingly unrelated events and potentialities.

If Teacher had not taught me about the wisdom of setting limits, I might still be that martyr, sitting at home keeping the dog and cat and rabbit separated, struggling to make ends meet, resisting my own fulfillment. Thanks to Teacher, whose intuition was able to link to mine in some way still to be explained, a new stream of probabilities opened up for both of us and for all those in our lives, including Teacher’s children we now see playing in the yard in the warmth of a summer day.


Published by Helen L. Stewart PhD

Endlessly curious, writer, speaker, blogger, intuitive, author, consultant. Retired university academic administrator and faculty member. Citizen of the world. Traveler. Human being. Perhaps in reverse order.

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