Tag Archives: rabbit

Runaway Bunny – A Eulogy

Sometime in the spring I looked out of my kitchen window and saw a rabbit.  Rabbits are an unusual sight in my area.  I just don’t see them that often and having one grazing in the middle of my lawn in the middle of the morning, is just plain odd.  I stealthily moved from my window view to the front door, opened it quietly and slowly snuck out into the herb garden.  From there I could see it was a small rabbit, greyish, with tiny ears.  It took a look at me and went back to eating.  I moved closer.  It stayed where it was and continued with its breakfast.  This rabbit was used to human company.

After an entertaining hour where my son and I tried to capture the rabbit (I do have a garden and rabbits are voracious vegetarians) where we tried to corner it in the woodshed, capture it with a rake, and toss a tarp over the elusive thing, I gave up and decided that I could use the company in the garden more than the occasional leaf of kale that he ate.

One day during the summer, my sister and I caught him.  We snuck up on him while he hid under the tomato plants.  She distracted him from one side of the bed and I grabbed him from the other.  As I held him, I felt his heart pounding wildly while he snuggled into my chest.  It felt like he wanted to be close to me while trying to overcome his fear.  His fur was rough and hard as though he had had it spiked with gel.  Along his backbone the stiff hair was beginning to fall out, leaving soft black fur that was pleasant to stroke.  I held him for a short time and let him go near the broccoli where he nibbled on the leaves.

I was worried that he would destroy my garden.  I expressed my fear to my son who replied that it was time to either “shoot him, or name him”.  We started to call him “RB” for Runaway Bunny.

All summer as I weeded and harvested, RB kept me company.  He stayed at a cordial distance, always close enough so that we could share each other’s presence and far enough to be sure never to be caught again.  I talked to him in the morning as I visited my plants and I looked for him in the evening when it was his habit to nap under the peach tree.

My son left for college and I continued to check in with RB every day.

Last week there was a chill in the air as I sat in the yard enjoying an apple with my sister and a friend. The leaves were in full autumn color and it was a glorious sunny day.   Jack, my black and white yearling cat was crouched, tail twitching.  He was obviously on the hunt.  He darted across the yard and from a cloud of dust and leaves, emerged with RB in his teeth.  Jack had him by the throat and was carrying him like a lioness carries an impala, furry bunny body between Jack’s front legs.  I tried to catch Jack, to rescue RB, but he was determined that RB was to be his prize of the day.

Jack finally let go and RB ran under a tarp in the yard where I was allowed to pick him up.  His fur was thick and black, the spikiness had been shed over the summer.  He lay limp and resigned in my arms.

I put RB in a small cage, fed him some of my kale and started to look for a home for him.  RB died the next day.  I don’t know if it was a physical injury that I couldn’t see, if his heart gave out from the trauma of the attack, or if he just lost all hope in the tiny cage after a summer of freedom in my garden.

I wrote to my son to let him know that RB had died and that I was feeling sadder than I had imagined I would.  He wrote back “That’s too bad about bunny but he was kind of a miracle anyways.  Just think of it as a good story”.

Yes, he was kind of a miracle.  My first summer as a single parent, my son involved in his own life, planning for college, and this little furry being appeared out of nowhere to keep me company.  He kept his distance, allowing me to feel the quiet of my new life but he was always there to remind me that I wasn’t alone.  He visited with me in the garden because it was what he wanted.  He chose my yard, my garden, my company.  He was a reminder to me that a life lived in freedom is a life worth living even if it is dangerous and perhaps short.  I’m glad I let him go that day earlier in the summer.  I’m glad that he got to live like a wild bunny for the months that we shared.

I am sad that he is gone and I will miss him.  He and I shared a slice of our lives this summer.  And of course, he gave me this story.

A Fine Line

About two weeks ago, a rabbit showed up in my yard.  It was early morning and I was drinking a cup of coffee, looking out the kitchen window when I caught sight of it.  I didn’t have my glasses on so I wasn’t sure what it was at first.  I just knew that that brown lump over by the fire pit hadn’t been there the day before and it did (I was pretty sure) seem to be moving.  I very seldom see rabbits where I live and when I do, they are zipping across the road, toward the safety of some thick underbrush.

I turned away just for a moment to get my glasses and by the time I had them on my face and had turned back toward the window, it was gone.

The next morning it showed up again.  I quickly grabbed my glasses and identified it as a rabbit.  Stealthily, I made my way to the front door keeping a quiet as I could, stalking the small beast to get a better look.  I made it out the front door and almost half way across the front lawn when it spied me.  It looked up from its breakfast, gave me a good hard look and went back to eating.  I walked closer.  It ignored me.  By this time I had given up my stealthy walk ( – take a step – stop – take another step – stop –) and took a few normally gaited steps.  I got within about 5 feet of it when it ran.

Any normal rabbit would have darted into the woods or under the perennials.  Heck, any normal rabbit would have been gone when it first caught sight of me sneaking out the front door.  This rabbit ran out into the middle of the lawn, just out of my reach and started eating again.

That evening, I decided that I should catch the rabbit.  I have a large garden filled with delicious temptations for the local herbivores so I consider them all rivals including the deer that want to eat the tender leaves of my growing fruit trees, the porcupines that munch on my raspberry canes, the voles that dig in my beds and chew on my carrots and now this new intruder – the rabbit.  I enlisted the help of my son, a resourceful teenager, and we set out to catch the rabbit.

Rabbits aren’t all that bright; we had one as a pet a few years ago and though they can be nauseatingly cute, ours spent a good deal of energy in amorous activity with a red nerf ball.  What they are is fast.  We tried cornering it, trapping it in a cardboard box, throwing a sheet over it and when we got desperate, trapping it under a rake.  It always let us get within 2 or 3 feet and then would scoot out just far enough ahead of us to keep us chasing it.  The closest we got was about an hour into the chase when, exhausted, it lay down in the shade panting.  We tried to chase it down but finally gave in to our own hunger and left it alone.

This weekend, I worked in the garden.  The rabbit ate right beside me.  It always stayed out of reach but close enough so it was enjoyable company.  If I moved toward it, it moved away.  If I moved away, it came with me, keeping a safe but congenial distance.  It seemed to be eating the weeds but that could have been the result of the cognitive dissonance that I was apparently creating as the fuzzy little brown creature looked up at me with its soft brown eyes.

Last night my son and I started thinking up names for it.  That was after we discussed borrowing a gun.

Relationships are tricky things.  If you are hungry, anything that competes with you for food is a rival.  The same goes with water or warmth or safety and I suppose on a less fundamental level, comfort, peace and happiness.  We choose our relationships by making sure our basic needs are met and that our quality of life isn’t compromised and rather is enhanced.

And then sometimes, we just need a little company in the garden.