My dog eats rabbits. He hears them in the grass. He smells them on the air. He sleeps at night and dreams of rabbits and then he wakes up and he sees rabbits. He loves rabbits. But he doesn’t want to play with them, he wants to eat them. There are rabbits near my outbuilding, the one that I intended to finish beautifully to match the house, until I realized that beautiful is expensive. I should have known that, I am married, after all. And so I never finished the building, even though when asked I promise that it’s on my list of things to do. I don’t mean it, but I say it because what could I say? No, I don’t plan to do anything with that little mini-barn? I’m just going to leave it like that, to rot in place, that’s what I’m going to do. So of course I wouldn’t say that, but what my dog doesn’t yet know is that there’s a family of rabbits living near that small barn. A bunch of little, delicious, adorable rabbits.
There’s another rabbit that I’ve known for quite some time, and it’s in the front yard of my parents’ house. It’s a nice rabbit, friendly and calm, still. I don’t remember when I first saw that rabbit, or how it came to be. When I was young, I’d jump over the small pine tree that my dad planted when my twin brother died. It was a little tree then, always Christian’s tree. My brothers and I could take a running start and leap over the top of it. When we’d do that, the rabbit was nearby, under that tree, off to the side, watching then as it does now. But the tree is big now, so tall that no one could ever jump over it. The rabbit has spent time under that tree, tipped on his side, buried in the leaves and pine needles.
Because no one uses that lakeside lawn in the winter, the rabbit is mostly a summer rabbit. In the fall we might see him, but rarely. In the spring, around Easter, when the eggs are hidden in the yard, we see him then, too. He’ll be under the large tree, kicked on his side, or stuffed in the hedge of evergreen that separates my parents lawn from the association lawn to the north. In the spring, he’s often in the way. The pier boards must be moved to the water, the Laser sailboats carried from their winter saw horses to the summer ramp. The rabbit knows no fear, and so he sits there while the work is done, and he sits there when the work is done.
The other day he was there, looking as he does, bright eyed. He was facing the lawn, away from the lake, sitting high on the bricks that line a flower garden. The rabbit was put in a place where everyone, not just those who knew him, could see. He was prominent, favored, in a place of importance. It was nice to see. He’s just a rabbit, after all, but he’s been our rabbit for so long that no one knows what the lawn was like without him. He’s seen it all, at this point, and there’s no telling just how much more he’ll get to see.