Once upon a time there was a small rabbit goddess, she was the Goddess of Lost Objects and Simple Joys but today she was simply the goddess with a big headache. BunniHoTep never had headaches. Isis had headaches. Hathor had headaches. Osiris had headaches. BunniHotep never had headaches. She was usually the one that solved the small problems that gave people headaches.
She had woken up with this one. It started up the back of her neck and climbed around the side of her skull and if it didn’t go away soon she was going tear one of her long ears off. She’d tried the dark of the temple and the coolness of the stone floor. She’d tried the a nasty tasting potion that one of her priestesses had made from the bark of tree that grew near the Nile. The Priestesses had played her soothing music and read softly to her but she still had a headache. What was causing this stupid pain? She hoped it wasn’t anything like the headache poor Zeus had had when he gave birth to Athena. That was a colossal headache and she wasn’t big enough to give birth to a goddess from her skull. Although at the moment it felt like she could. She wondered vaguely what would come out, a hedgehog?
The sun was finally setting on this long day and she decided to take a walk in the gardens along the Temple Row. The colours of the garden were always pleasant and soothing. The lavender of the lilies in the pond and the soft pinks and yellows of the lotus were easy on her eyes and seemed to lessen the pain a little as she walked. She sat down on the stone rim of the largest pool in the shade of a large papyrus plant. She sat quietly dangling a limp paw at the edge of the pool and gently sniffed the twilight air. She sat day dreaming for a bit when she saw a flash of colour out of the corner of her eye. There was something emerging like a thought from her head. She saw a broad line of colours start from the direction of the Nile and arc overhead in the evening mist. It had been raining earlier and had started to clear up when she went out into the sunset.
“What was that? She’d never seen this before. It had bright colours and covered a wide band of the whole sky. It seemed to start at the Nile and arch over the whole temple row and at the moment she seemed to be the only one around who was watching it. And as she watched she felt her headache slip away and she gave a great sigh. The colours were slowly fading with the withdrawal of the sun and as they faded something new appeared. A small winged being was coming toward her. The being landed lightly on the edge of the pool and slowly opened and closed its wings.
It was striped in black over a coat of beautiful butter yellow. “Who are you?” BunniHoTep asked. “Or better yet, what are you?”
The being slowly fanned its wings open and spoke, “I’m what comes when you’re in pain?” It laughed lightly.
“No, really, what are you?” BunniHoTep asked again.
“I’m what comes sometimes when the world or a goddess needs healing. I’m the spirit of that arch. It’s called a rainbow. It will come now after rain when the sun calls it. Ra was sad that you had a headache and he thought I might help.”
“You did help. The headache is gone but you’re separate from the rainbow. What are you?”
“I’m a butterfly. I was born from the rainbow. When you see me, remember that sometimes healing comes in unexpected ways and unexpected places you just have to be open to it. Healing the pain is what I do and then I’m gone.”
“What do you mean you’re gone?”
“I only live a day. I have my purpose and then I go.”
“How is death healing?”
“Death is only the next step and sometimes the ultimate healing. There is no pain in death.”
The Butterfly lifted her wings and glided into the air and disappeared around the clump of papyrus.
BunniHoTep got up and slowly walked back to her Temple thinking about the Butterfly and what she had said.
More on Wildlife at Taquitz
Tahquitz ran year round. We had summer camp for kids and we had family winter camps. We had an Easter week camp and we had Outdoor Ed for a couple of schools during the school year. I did a lot of nature talks and walks and occasionally a Nature Ride.
One of the things I loved about working at camp was all the different animals that lived around camps. We always had a lot of gopher snakes around because they were attracted to all the mice because no matter no you tell kids no food they always manage to sneak some to hide. This is especially bad when you are working with kids that come from group foster homes. They feel the need to make sure they have something that is theirs and food often fits the bill since it’s portable and hideable until some critter decides it’s theirs.
I was always rescuing some poor gopher snake that had gotten penned somewhere by panicked children and I would take them out to the meadows and let them go but sometimes I’d keep one in a cage for a few days to try and get the kids to get to know snakes. There was one particularly docile one that I carried around in the front top pocket of my overalls. She liked to ride with her head sticking out of the pocket not unlike an Egyptian headpiece. She liked it there because it was nice and warm and safe from panicked children.
One of my favourite things to do was to walk into the Dining Lodge to give a talk with her riding head out in my pocket. I could clear that room in about 30 seconds flat and I would just stand there and pretty soon the heads would pop back in the door and the kids would return and they would start to ask questions about my passenger. City kids have a tendency to assume that all snakes are poisonous and evil so for me, someone they liked and trusted to stand there with a snake in my pocket and obviously not running around crazy had an impact on them. Soon they could gently touch the snake and stroke her smooth scales and we’d talk about how I knew she was a girl (egg slit) and what she ate and what she did for camp and what I was going to do with her. I’m hoping those kids stayed respectful of snakes when they left camp but I have no way of knowing.
One spring we had an Outdoor Ed camp and it snowed about 3 feet at camp. I have to admit that winter of off and on snow is why I can happily live in Southern California and never go near another place with snow. I don’t like being wet, frozen or cold. I went out early one morning to the Arts & Crafts building to get ready to make some candles and do some nature crafts and the snow was absolutely pristine. Nobody was up at that end of camp and it was quiet and mine were the only boot prints through the snow. I was going about my chores and set up when I heard the funny sounds that quail make and across the snow came Mommy and Daddy quail and about 15 tiny little quail all in a long line. Peeping as they went. It was totally enchanting and funny as hell when a pair of the babies fell into one of my boot prints and got stuck. There was a lot of agitated peeping but I knew they would get out and they eventually did. If they hadn’t my leaving the building would have done it. But they got out and left in their long line and it reminded me of a Madeline story of the little girls following the nuns.