Sunday, June 12, 2011
Not Such A Funny Bunny, Honey
I’ve always dreaded the inevitable moment when someone asks, “If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?” I don’t know! I am not fierce like a tiger, strong like a horse or sleek like a dolphin. One friend assures me regularly that whatever animal I am, it’s not a carnivore.
Maybe it’s a bunny.
According to my Chinese Zodiac Placemat I was born in the Year of the Rabbit, “the luckiest of all the animal signs.” But that could have been the fried bean curd talking.
According to a Feng-Shui friend’s annual newsletter 2011 is once again the year of the rabbit which should make sense to everyone in Richmond not living on the top floor of a high rise. Rabbits are everywhere. You can’t get your newspaper without being cut off by Peter chasing Cotton Tale. Rabbit ears plunge upwards out of the grass like picketers at a rally. Each sighting makes me incredibly happy. The near Westend of Richmond is not exactly a nature preserve, so I do feel lucky when I see them.
But, yesterday morning, instead of discovering outdoor wildlife Stan and I discovered that we had not in fact recorded over Henry’s birth video as we’d believed for the last 6 ½ years. For the first time, the three of us watched wide-eyed as our baby opened his eyes for the first time, his cries more like the mews of a kitten than the wails of a human being. In the corner of the video I caught site of the blood-soaked sheets into which he’d been delivered by emergency C-section, the umbilical chord wrapped three times around his neck. I cried for the miracle of it. Henry, obsessed with all things babies, asked if he could start nursing again. I said sorry honey, but no way.
This morning we all had the opportunity to cry again. After brushing my teeth I walked into Henry’s room and discovered on the carpet the still-warm body of a tiny baby rabbit.
Stan! I whisper-shouted. Dead baby bunny on the floor in Henry’s room! Stan snuck in with a cardboard box, which he then hid on the kitchen stove by the trashcan. Maybe we should tell Henry, we told each other.
Oh, how I hate the cycle of life.
Zeus brought it to you, because he loves you, Stan told Henry.
So it’s like when I eat shrimp--- I say thank you and I’m sorry. It’s sad and it’s good, said Henry. Yes we said.
Then Stan put the bunny in its box in our dumpster.
Henry and I decided we should give it a proper burial instead. He found Bread-and-Honey-Bunny, his stuffed animal and wet the fur around its eyes. He’s wet because he’s crying, said Henry.
Of course by then, so was I.
Stan took the bunny out of the dumpster and gave Henry and I shovels. The ground in our yard was hard with stone and clay and roots. We stood outside digging for a long time, messily slopping the dirt from inside the grave to the inside of our shoes. When the hole was finally a shovel’s head deep, Henry let the baby roll from inside the box to the inside of the dirt and then he said the first unprompted prayer of his life. Thank you God, and sorry.
I thought that summed it up pretty well.
Posted by Valley Haggard at 9:47 AM