They say the road to hibernation is never smooth. But, yesterday, it was made a little brighter for Park Animals who will spend the Winter underground.
As Adelheid Whistlepig, the newly-elected Park Official Prognosticator of Spring (POPS), and other hibernators walked the path toward their burrows, they were greeted by a row of Maple Trees all decked out with paper hearts. Those hearts, fastened to the trees’ now bare branches, bore the well wishes of thousands of The Park’s non-hibernating citizens.[pullquote]Hibernation is an act of faith that demonstrates the most profound belief in the future.—Ekeoma L. Girraaf, 2016 Keeper of the Nut[/pullquote]
“I can’t begin to tell you what it meant to me,” said Kimbriella Marmot. “It’s a sad time of year for my family, even though we try to focus on renewal. I really appreciate the love and kindness demonstrated here.”
The Maple Tree Project, as it is now known, was initiated by Dewi Rhinoceros, a former Chief Archon who is now Chair of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Interspecial Harmony. All arrangements, including the signing of the hearts, were made at the Centre, Rhinoceros told The Mammalian Daily, and volunteers worked through the night to hang the hearts.
Malinda L. Hamster, president of The Park’s Small Animal Hibernating Community (SAHC), was visibly moved as she stopped to read the messages on each tree.
“Such a beautiful gesture,” she whispered.
That sentiment was echoed by hundreds of Park hibernators, many of whom posed for selfies in front of the trees.
Later, at a short ceremony, Ekeoma L. Girraaf, 2016 Keeper of the Nut, expressed his admiration for the hibernating community.
“I’m sure I’m not alone among non-hibernators when I say that I have the utmost respect and admiration for your community,” he said. “Hibernation is an act of faith that demonstrates the most profound belief in the future. May you be well for the next few months and emerge strong in the Spring.”
Then, in a spontaneous gesture, attendees showered Hieronymous Hedgehog with thunderous applause as he approached his burrow. The Park’s first Official Hibernation Ambassador paused to wave, then continued his descent.