Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bitter Spring

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping
for that which has been your delight. (Kahlil Gibran)

It has been heavy and gray in Denver for days, cold with a rain that falls in thick, relentless sheets, glowing around the lamp posts and knocking the flying, buzzing bugs out of the night. The ravine behind our building, dividing the property from the golf course, has turned into a swamp where blossoming Russian Olives, wilting lilies and knee-high grass rise up out of the gray, eddying water. We have been restless and cut-off with the windows closed, and our jogs outside have been huddled and brief as we pause only long enough for Duncan to tend to his business before we hurry back inside. Sleep begins and ends with the constant hollow pound of water on the windows, melting the lights and fragmenting our view of the world.

This afternoon, between downpours, I pulled on my tattered blue windbreaker, zippered it all the way up, cinched the hood around my head and rushed Duncan to the park for whatever brief moment of play we could capture. He trotted beside me, navigating his way through the puddled canals, not venturing far off the sidewalk where the grass is sickeningly damp, the ground beneath it slippery, too willing to slide beneath his feet, as treacherous as ice.

I led him to the far side of the park, just below the playground, red and yellow and green, where the new bunnies roost in the tall grass and then hide when they hear the jingle of his collar. Except tonight one bunny didn't move at all. We stalked carefully up the hill toward it, Duncan raising each foot slowly and stepping delicately, his ears high and alert, his back straight and long. Still the baby did not move. Duncan looked at me in that quizzical raised-eyebrow way of his and stopped, simply sat and waited. I curled his leash tight around my hand and stepped forward expecting the thing to dart away, stirring up the grounded starlings with its mad dash.

The poor thing was laying on its side, it's big brown eyes staring straight into the single scratch of blue in the sky, its breathing shallow and weak, pulling the air through lips which heaved desperately. Duncan laid down and waited for me to do something but there was nothing I could do. I called Chelsea who attempted to call several rabbit rescue groups in the area but was met with disconnected lines or voice mail recordings. She called me back and tried to reassure me that this is the way things go, and even though I understood it was difficult to watch poor Duncan, laying as he was in the mud, a concerned smile on his face, his tail occasionally thumping the wet grass, sending a storm of drops into the air around him, a soft whine humming up through his beautiful red throat.

We sat on the hillside for nearly an hour and a half watching its breaths grow softer until it was difficult to tell them from the breeze and the misting drizzle churning down the foothills around us. When it ceased to move at all Duncan sat up, whined again and waited while I said a prayer to the universe thanking it for the gift of this brief and joyous life which had brought such pleasure to my best friend and to me.

And as we walked home I could not help but feel that sometimes Spring can be every bit as bitter and ruthless as January.


Lori said...

How kind of you and Duncan to hold a vigil for the bunny as he went on his way. Nobody should leave on that journey alone.

Jyoti said...

Yes, honoring a life. You and Duncan got to do something quite special.

Sue said...

I am lost for words.

Hugs to you both.

Greg said...

Oh, thanks. Cause I hadn't cried enough this week. Awwww...