from A Grandpa's Notebook, Meyer Moldeven

One adventure is to explore the beach to search for seashells; another is to build sandcastles. Still another is to watch the sea gulls and pelicans dive and fish for food.

Suzanne and Roger enjoy watching the pelicans. They often watch the large, clumsy-looking birds fly low above the water until they see a fish beneath the surface. The pelican slips into a dive, folds its wings to cut the water cleanly to reduce the shock of hitting, disappears in the spray and rises with the fish in its beak pouch. The bird flies off with the fish to eat it, or to feed it to the baby pelicans. That's a little adventure for Suzanne and Roger.

There are also big adventures. Those happen when Suzanne and Roger and their mom and dad go sailing. Sailing often takes them far out to where the islands meet the sea. There they hike and explore the hills, and at night, sleep in a tent ashore or in bunks on the sailboat. Those are real adventures and we'll be talking about them soon.

***

I was thinking of Suzanne and Roger this morning and wondered what they were doing. I pictured them on the beach in the bright sunlight, walking toward where sand dunes had been built up by the wind and waves.

The dunes slope down to the beach, and tall reeds grow on the sides and along its ridges. When the wind blows, the reeds lean far over and rustle.

Birds build nests among the reeds. Sometimes, small animals rush up or down the dunes and through the reeds on their way from here to there, or from there to here. The dunes are among Suzanne's and Roger's favorite places for exploring.

I walked to the beach. Suzanne and Roger were waiting at Three Palms. They had a story for me. Suzanne told the story just as if it was happening right then.

Suzanne's story:

When we get to the beach, we climb to the ridge of a dune. The wind is a gentle breeze and the reeds make a soft, sushing sound.

I see a movement in the reeds.

'Roger, Roger,' I shout. 'Come quick. We have company.'

Roger dashes over. I'm on my knees, separating the reeds with my hands to see better. Roger helps and we see a baby jackrabbit.

We stare at the jackrabbit and don't move. We don't want to frighten the baby jackrabbit and, of course, the baby jackrabbit doesn't want to frighten us.

A rustling sound comes from behind a clump of reeds off to the side, and out jumps a fully grown jackrabbit. It's as big as a cat, but has long, flapping ears and a cotton-ball tail, which cats don't have.

The grown jackrabbit rushes to the baby and, with its mouth, grips the back of the baby's neck and lifts it up. This must be the baby's mother, because that is the way most parent animals carry their young. It doesn't hurt the baby, and the mother does feel better knowing exactly where her baby is.

The adult jackrabbit looks up at us. All this time we are very still. I don't think the jackrabbit is frightened of us, but I suppose she has other things to do and can't just stand around visiting.

After looking us over for a moment or two, the jackrabbit wriggles her ears, turns away, twitches her cotton-ball tail and jackrabbit-jumps into the reeds. She and her baby are on their way from one place to the another. I guess only the jackrabbit really knows where and why.

'I hope they find their way to where they want to go,' Roger says, 'and I hope the baby stays close to it's mother. A baby can get lost among these reeds.'

'The mother jackrabbit knew where to find the baby,' I said. 'She must be pretty smart. Don't you think so?'

'Yes,' Roger agreed, 'she's smart, all right.'

We walked back to the palms and, from there, home.

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