Scary stories from a lovely place
Last week our family of four welcomed a new member. A rabbit. He was grey with white fur on his belly and under his little cotton ball tail.
We named him Bunny. He was pretty skittish. The kids would hover around his cage, poking grass through the gaps and squealing with delight at every little movement he made. We often opened the cage for the kids to give Bunny a little stroke or to give him pieces of carrot and celery.
Then the kids realised they could open the cage themselves. You know where this is going right? Before we had a chance to childproof the latch Bunny was out. He was free. Oisín was very excited as he and I chased Bunny and tried to catch him with all manner of apparatus; towels, the washing basket, a large plastic pot. Eventually he took refuge under our deck where only Oisín could crawl.
That was Thursday. We kind of gave up trying after that. We moved Bunny’s cage to a spot in the garden that he seemed to favour, filled it with all manner of rabbit treats and waited. But Bunny wanted to roam around our garden and eat our grass and weeds (as you would if you had been in a cage your whole life). He had a little chew on one of my spinach plants and some chervil, but besides that did little damage to my precious garden. The kids loved chasing him all over; through garden beds, under bushes and around the Jacaranda tree. I was stressed that he would take off and be killed, or find a little she-Bunny and perpetuate the whole Rabbit as vermin reputation.
But he stayed put in our yard. Only once did he wander into the neighbours yard, but he came back, all under my watchful eye. It was nice to see him happily on the loose. We were pretty conflicted about having him in a cage in the first place and had discussed letting Bunny go or making him into a culinary masterpiece (we’re both unemployed okay, and it’s Winter). Bunny on the loose was a perfect fit for us.
But then, yesterday morning I noticed a couple of smears of blood on the driveway. And I couldn’t see Bunny anywhere. We waited all day, then last night pronounced Bunny dead. I felt really sad. I hoped that Bunny hadn’t suffered too much. I felt guilty that we hadn’t tried harder to predator-proof our garden, or catch Bunny (but he was super fast). But it gave me comfort that the last few days of Bunny’s life seemed delightful. He roamed and cavorted. He feasted and experimented. He slept in a little rut in the grass, under our slippery slide. The night before he disappeared I went out in the yard and noticed him there, all snuggled into the grass and peaceful. He was happy. Rest in Peace Bunny.
Postscipt – Just a few minutes ago Stephen spotted Bunny! He’s not dead! He’s alive and gnawing on my old snow pea plants. What a joyous, rainy morning it is! I don’t know who or what the blood belonged to, but it wasn’t my little grey friend. Stephen calls him our Guard Bunny.
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