In my most pragmatic moments, I think of the Dickens quote: “Life is made up of a series of meetings and partings,” and try to convince myself that this is, indeed, the way of it and that mourning and memory are the mirror-twins of joy and experience. The latter cannot exist without the former, because otherwise life would be featureless and flat; either constant valley or relentless plateau.
Each bunny brings its own heartbreak, be it with their coming or their going.
Despite his sad start, Boomer came to live an enviable life among bunnies and he lived it well, I think. He was the beloved of two beautiful Flemish-bunny girls in his lifetime and enjoyed many hours napping in the sunshine. He loved a warm bed and a soft pillow. He was easy in the way only a Flemmie can be: gentle, big-hearted, all feet and big ears.
The vacuum and the roar of a lawn mower were the only things to bring out any memory of fear in him.
“You’re safe, Boomer. You’re home.“
And that was enough, whispered time and again into those sweet velvet ears, to calm him. My secret promise; a reminder for us both.
There’s some part of me that’s in tune with bunnies; that sings in the same key with them. Others don’t get it; they might love cats or dogs or iguanas, but the love of a bunny is different, somehow. It touches some other place; a place that seeks to protect them in their peculiar frailties, as much as it delights in their boundless joy.
The love of a bunny is different.
And the heartbreak is different too, somehow.
Not so the misbehaving rabbit.
How might a sweet little bunny misbehave, you wonder?
I’m not sure what it is that comes over them, but once in a while a bunny decides to act up and there’s just no dissuading them from whatever it is they’re up to.
For Peeper that usually means eating my books or jumping on and off the couch or clanging things around in her cage in the middle of the night.
I don’t mind the noise-making so much; usually I interpret it as a call for attention, some bunny-specific need that I’ve failed to meet during the course of the day and the banging in the dark is just her way of getting revenge.
Book-eating, though, makes me mad. She knows it, too.
The other morning, she got it in her head that she was going to tear up the dust jacket of one of my books. She was in full view of me as she hopped innocently toward the bookcase. I called her name and she stopped for the briefest of moments, then went ahead and tore off a corner piece. I needed only to stand up from my computer before she was headed in the opposite direction. No sooner had I sat, then she was back on her way to the bookcase.
We went on this way for a bit… me threatening her with my approaching steps and her retreating behind her cage, just out of reach, with a bit of glossy book jacket as her prize. I’d sit and forget about her until she did it once more. Then I’d be up after her again. Up and down. Back and forth. She had that cheeky look bunnies get when they know they’re being bad, and that saucy little way of turning her back to me.
Just plain fresh.
If it were Luka misbehaving, I’d only need to call him over with that voice, my teacher voice, and maybe wag my finger in his face to correct him. But a bunny? What to do?
Putting her back in her cage to discipline her, after the ordeal of catching her, would only cause a Terrible Mad Bunny Tantrum.
So I did what I always do with Peeper… the most awful penance imaginable… I scooped her up and kissed her. Over and over again.
She hates that.
It works though.
Peeper the bunny isn’t the friendliest of rabbits and she would just as soon box and growl as allow herself to be petted; unless you have a handful of strawberries, that is!
But like most any bunny, she’s a busybody! The alarm guy’s work mat spread across the floor and covered with assorted tools and a multitude of plastic packages and little doodads proved just too much for her curiosity and she had to investigate and climb all over everything. She even chinned a couple of his power tools!
I had to put her back in her cage when she started trying to run off with his stuff, though. Ever watch a bunny try to run with a cardboard box in her mouth? It’s the funniest thing, really.
Image fromRed Bank Green
Makes little distinction between his work and his play,
His labor and his leisure,
His mind and his body,
His education and his recreation,
His love and his religion.
He hardly knows which is which.
He simply persues his vision of excellence in whatever he does,
Leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.
To him he is always doing both.
–Zen Buddhist Text