Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bunny at the Door

All summer, we’ve watched a baby rabbit explore our backyard. It was tiny when we first noticed it and over the course of a few weeks it grew larger. We should have given it a name, but it was always just “little bunny.” The way rabbits chew is an unfailing source of amusement. Because our house is handicap-accessible, a wheelchair ramp connects the driveway to the backdoor, and we think the rabbit lives beneath the ramp.

For a while, rabbits were plentiful in the neighborhood. One evening we counted nine as we took a mile-long walk around neighborhood blocks. But lately we’ve seen few if any. I looked online and found an article that indicates that rabbits (if they don’t fall victim to another animal or a bird of prey) begin to come out at twilight and at dawn as summertime ends. Sometime in the pre-dawn I should step outside with a flashlight and see if our drove of rabbits are having a grassy breakfast.

You probably won’t know what happens to the “critters” in your yard. In the 1970s, a blond rabbit played and ate the grass of my childhood home, along with the usual brown and gray rabbits. Eventually we saw it no more.

My grandmother lived in a farmhouse a few miles out of town. She lived alone for the last several years of her life, and one of her consolations was watching the change of seasons. She watched the days shorten as the season moved toward December 21, and then the days would slowly lengthen toward June. She watched the patterns of the wild animals and birds. Because of her enjoyment, I’ve also picked up this sense of peace gained from the cycles of time. Observation of seasonal changes---including the appearance and disappearance of backyard animals---connects in my mind to the need to be conscious in a faithful, hopeful way of time’s passage. “So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart” (Ps. 90:12).

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