Twilight of the Bunnies
The following is a guest post from Christopher St. John, foster dad to Anastasia and Freddie Mercury. We welcome guest posts from SaveABunny supporters and love to hear from you!
In my work as an advertising creative director, I often take part in anxiety festivals that last from morning til night. So it’s always wonderful to come home to my two bunnies, and sit with them for a few minutes in the gathering dusk, with a big plate of Italian parsley, pea pods and dill next to me.
Rabbits are crepuscular, which means they are most active around dawn and dusk. I usually miss the dawn frolics, alas, but the twilight friskiness is something I look forward to all day. As soon as I arrive with the greens, I can see Anastasia perk up. Apparently, she can hear the sound of broccoli slices being carried down the hallway.
I sit down, and she bounds towards me, because I’m the candyman: Purveyor of fresh cilantro and, on special days, the watercress from Whole Foods. She lays into the leafage with a will, and even with my impaired hearing, I can hear her crunching. Freddie comes out a bit later. He doesn’t rush, but lollops over with a kind of careful insouciance. (A curious thing about words is that only when writing about rabbits do you have occasion to use the word “lollops.”)
The silence is marvelous. In my work, I’m beavering about all day, figuring out ways to convince Americans that they don’t have enough, and that they need more. Even while unemployment stays stubbornly high, and American jobs drift away to other lands. This kind of work is done by hyper-verbal people with fervid imaginations, and the high-speed yak can go on for hours without stopping. Of course, I’m the yakker in chief. Often, by the end of the day, I sick of listening to myself most of all.
The buns are silent. Whether feeling fearful or frolicsome, they are almost soundless. A happy rabbit is something you see, but you will listen in vain for a rabbit to cry “Yowza!” at the end of a great piece of endive. And with the studied dignity and stoicism of a prey animal, they would never tell you if they are hurt. A lion with a thorn in its paw may lay by the side of the road making a great play for sympathy while keeping an eye out for Androcles, but no rabbit would ever do such a thing. Crying is an indulgence for predators and traders at JP Morgan Chase. It is hard to be bold if you are a prey animal, but every day, they are brave.
Our rabbits look wild. Anastasia is a mottled brown, and Freddie a dappled grey. When you see them, you don’t think “hutch,” or “eight-year-old girl.” You think of them bounding away over the downs with Hazel and Fiver, looking for the perfect spot to found a new warren. * They don’t rush up to you, like a puppy, or expect to served by you, like a lordly feline. They are elusive. They keep their own counsel. When we first brought these creatures home, they ran from us. That they will guilelessly approach me now feels like a gift.
The dusk draws down towards night. My day of unique selling propositions and “More!” fades. The moment lingers and hangs. The shadows lengthen. The corners of the room disappear, and the quiet makes me sleepy.
Freddie and Anastasia tussle over a piece of parsley. “Hush, babies,” I tell them. “There’s enough for everyone.” And for a moment, in this tiny corner of America, there is.
* As I’m sure many readers already know, these are characters in the classic heroic fantasy novel, Watership Down, which chronicles the lives of a group of rabbits as they search for a new home. This is Penguin Books’ best-selling novel of all time.