This is the last image I have of the rabbits in their nest. At the time I took this picture, near nightfall on September 7th, there were three babies visible in the nest and a fourth hiding under the woodpile. Later that night, an unknown predator destroyed the nest and took two of the young rabbits.
What was it? Is there a way to name the hunger that crossed our fence in the dark? And what would I gain, in giving it a name?
The next day was one of uncertainty. How many had survived? One of them stayed visible all day, exposed and exhausted. I feared that it’s inexperience would lure another predator into the yard.
As it turns out, two of the baby rabbits survived. I have no way to know whether or not the rabbits grieve for their loss. All I know is that they go on. They sleep and graze, grow and explore. They live.
I’m sad about the lost rabbits, but less so than I might have been in the past. It’s a matter of perspective, and today’s date eclipses the yard’s small tragedies. Eleven years ago, I spent a week in front of my television, paralyzed with horror.
I felt, then, as if I would never again know joy. As if all of my future hours should be spent remembering and mourning. Except the world continued to turn and I couldn’t sustain my grief. Paper and ashes stopped falling from the sky. Piles of rubble disappeared. Names and stories quit flooding my dreams at night and swirled into the slow current of memory. Today I am able to sit quietly beside those memories and study a calmer reflection, one less distorted by ripples of fear. And tomorrow, when the Earth’s rotation delivers another new day, I’ll stand in the weedy expanse of my yard and take another picture of rabbits. Because all of my future hours should not be spent remembering and mourning. They should be spent living.