Our house backs up to open space which makes for a lot of wildlife. We see hawks, deer, wild turkey by the bushel, and even the occasional coyote or bobcat. Ben and I woke the other morning to the distant scream of a mountain lion. That's better than coffee for getting the blood pumping. You should try it.
In amongst these creatures, is the quiet and elusive jack rabbit. Often, when the kids are making me apeshit on a Saturday morning, I'll send them out on the hill to look for bunnies. We know the warrens are there, the bunnies are less reliable.
Usually, a bunny sighting happens about once every month or so, a rate akin to spotting a celebrity in L.A. For the past few weeks though, virtually every morning, we've seen a bunny, we assume the same bunny, somewhere close to our house. Sometimes he's down by the trailer, sometimes near the chicken coop and often camped out by the great oak that reaches over the living-room. Generally, he's with his two friends, the deer and the turkey. Always a single deer, always a single turkey, though those animals usually travel in groups. It is, it goes without saying, mysterious. Ben and I have been joking that this bunny is our spirit animal.
This morning, the bunny was settled for a good hour just outside the living-room windows. He stayed while Mihiretu performed his routine seven a.m. joyful whoop up and down the hall. He weathered the frantic few moments of the feeding, clothing, combing, shoeing and backpacking of Mae before she spilled out the front door at eight. He even remained zen during the shoving and screaming match (performed on bar stools) between the invincible Lana and the undefeated Mihiretu.
As he stayed and stayed, I suggested that perhaps we should give him a name. "Tip Top" was Lana's suggestion. Predictably, "Butt" was Mihiretu's.
The truly amazing moment was when Mihiretu opened the window not four feet from the bunny and hollered at top Mihiretu volume (on a whole different scale than other voices, his goes to eleven) and the rabbit merely turned one long ear towards the barrage of sound.
If we did indeed have spirit animals, Ben might be an otter, basking in the waves on his back, cleverly working a clam shell open, I, perhaps, a preening peacock, fanning colorful feathers, Mae undoubtably a horse running free, mane streaming behind her, Lana, a sly kitty-cat in the window, sleek and aloof, and Mihiretu a road-runner, moving fast and beeping loud. Put all those animals together and what do you have? A zoo, I suppose. Where in there, I wonder, is this placid jack rabbit, fast and shy and silent? Maybe that furry little guy knows something I don't. Could there be some soft, quiet, peaceful undercurrent that calls him to our record-high decibel house? It might just be he's a little masochistic and neurotic, a fuzzy Woody Allen. Or a flunkie Easter bunny, looking for entertainment while his cousins are frantic with colored eggs and beribboned baskets. Whoever he is, I like him.