In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The other rabbit

Last week I heard an urgent, terrorized screaming coming from the direction of the lower road. I was close by, near the garden, and when I got to the road I saw a mink and a rabbit intertwined, writhing in furious mortal battle. 

I should not have, I think now, but I intervened. I threw rocks at the mink until it ran away, and then Greg came and caught the wounded rabbit, which we took home and cared for, haplessly, awkwardly, but could not, of course, either comfort or save. It was terrified of us. It was the inhabitant of another world, something entirely wild, and in spite of our best intentions we could not reach across that boundary.  

The rabbit was not alone when the mink attacked it. Another rabbit was with it, or nearby.While the rabbit was fighting for its life the other rabbit sat in the middle of the road, about fifty feet beyond, and watched. When I arrived and started throwing rocks at the mink, the other rabbit continued to sit in the middle of the road and watch. After the mink ran away and Greg crawled through the underbrush and caught the wounded rabbit and we began to carry it toward the house, I looked back. The other rabbit had not moved. It was still watching.  

I wonder about the relationship between the two rabbits, what they were to each other. I can't know how, but they were connected. Nor can I know what the other rabbit was seeing, from its animal perspective and watching on the other side, beyond the event, further on up the road. But it was seeing something. 

It felt wrong to separate the two of them, to take the dying rabbit away from its familiar world, its watching friend or brother or mate. But of course the mink would have returned -- did in fact return, before we had even left the scene -- to drag its dinner away. Anyway, by then we were well along in our unconsidered course of action, and we would see it through. 

When I first saw the attack my impulse was to do something. But I hope the next time I come upon such a bloody, wild moment I will remember the other rabbit. In silence and stillness the other rabbit witnessed the whole terrifying event. It did not run away and hide. What it did was not second best. What it did was not nothing. What it did was, I now think, more right than what I did. 

It's an image for me of something holy, of something, even, like prayer: the other rabbit, in the sun-lit road, watching the whirlwind of activity that was hungry mink, desperate rabbit, us; watching the little tragedy unfold, holding it all within its steady gaze.    

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