I live in a yard, in a lovely shed with a sliding glass door and one perfect window. It was insulated by a friend who lived there before me. She had fabric hanging from the ceiling because she hadn’t perfected drywall when she did the ceiling and she said looking at it reminded her of constant failure. That sort of thing doesn’t bother me the same way, so their is no fabric hanging from my ceiling.
Lined up next to my perfect hutch are two others each containing two sides, each side containing one rabbit. Three are white with red eyes and one is black with eyes the color of melted semi-sweet chocolate. We have a nice portable corral where they spend good parts of the day when the weather is fair, but in the winter we each spend a great deal of time in our hutches.
I never raised rabbits as a child, but one of the scarier homes I spent time in did. They were a very drunk couple raising two boys who were older than me. I liked those boys because they left me completely alone. I didn’t like the Dad their because I always thought he hit his wife when no one else was over. She had sunken eyes and a cigarette always lit. She liked to have affairs with her brothers in law according to a very ill older step sister but I remember as a child not quite imagining her as a woman about town. I never saw her get up from her kitchen table.
They raised rabbits for food right there in town. Thats how we ended up with rabbits too. Besides cattle (which accidentally got left out of the statute) rabbits are the only met critters who can be raised in the city limits. Not counting chickens and the other nurturer of my future children does not like to eat a chicken.
We chose rabbits for food and fur and how fast they breed. We are moving away soon but could not hold off raising animals and call ourselves people any longer.
When I told my mom, she nearly lost it. She likes to tell stories but has little control over when they start and stop. The mention of rabbits brought back memories of her father. When he died I was two. My memeories are of a dark house and a nearly catatonic mom rocking back and forth, silently, in front of drawn blinds. I brought games out. I piled toys around her. I thought if I found the right combination of fun things to do that she would wake up.
Apparently her dad and mom had had rabbits when she was around kindergarten age. Her parents were not upfront about the plan and her familiy wasn’t the kind that revered their food as their most sacred Gods, so when they were slaughtered, after months of my mom and her one year older sister being their primary caregivers…well, those children were devestated. My mom won’t eat a rabbit. She won’t be near a rabbit that might be eaten. She doesn’t want to know that their are pregnant rabbits whose children have already been appointed an hour for death.
She eats plenty of meat and lately has started caring somewhat where it comes from but it is a far cry from admiting it breathed or cried or played or ate or had plans for itself that may not have included feeding us and our loved ones.
She avoids rabbits like she avoids crowds, or like she avoided convenient stores when she was a teenager or ghettos when we lived in southern California. She handles fear by pretending what she is scared of doesn’t exist as it simultaneously controls and changes her.
That is not everything she does but its one that I notice lately as my fears surface and as I take my hand away from their mouth and let them breathe…let the color return to thier blue lips. Let them tell the story of how they came to be and what they would become if they were trusted instead of forced away.
My fears are just dreams that got turned around, they are soldiers who came home to find no warmth and no work, they are fierce guides and friends and crying babies, nothing to different from what normally needs tending and they are no one too terrible to not be offered something warm to drink, in my hutch, on a winters day.
Posted on January 19, 2015, in blessings, bravery, doin things, family, farmers, grandparents, heart ache, luck, rabbits and tagged farmers, fear, grief, mistakes, rabbitraising. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.