A Little Ray of Sunshine

Friday, January 27, 2006

It snowed

today, like a layer of heavy butter frosting over the world. Not the powdered sugar sort of snow, but thick, and it looks like it should be gooey, but of course, when I touched it, it was only wet and cold. So I shoveled it off the walk into the garden, and burried the little spruce tree again. It is only eight inches tall, or maybe six, to begin with, but we set it down in a little basin, so it disapears quickly. One shovelfull is all it takes. Spruces don't mind this, they like the snow.
There are spruces across the fence from my parents' yard, along the road, next to their pine tree. When the snow is heavy, the boughs bow down to the ground. One year the snow was so heavy on them, and froze, that when the wind blew, the top of one broke. It didn't die, though, it just kept growing, coming back up towards the sky at the end. It looks like an old lady's shoulders now.
I used to keep rabbits under the pine tree, sometimes. My first bunny lived there, in a wire cage with a wooden hutch around it. The back and roof were solid, the sides could be taken on and off with three screws, they were phillips screws, I did it so many times I still remember, even though he has been dead for nine years now. The front hung from the top, hooking onto the cage wire with blunted nails. It had a wedge of wood that went through the cage door handle to keep it on.
When I had more rabbits, my father built a shed for them off the side of the garage. Not really a shed, but more like a shed than anything else, or maybe a lean-to. The garage has the roof and walls stick out on one end, perhaps ten or twelve feet, and in part of this, he built my rabbitry. It was nothing fancy, plain dirt floors, wire walls on the two sides, with windows and ceiling vents. Every fall I had to put plexiglas over the wire on the inside, and every spring when it warmed up enough I had to take it off. At first I had wire tables to set the cages on, later, he hung them. That was easier, I could get the rake underneath the cages, and they were at the right height for getting into. My parents' garden is still one of the best around, though hunting is so restricted now that the deer get most everything.
But we kept the wire tables, as my parents have kept everything, and they are still kicking around the old place, even though there is just the one rabbit cage left, in the hutch in the yard, and no rabbits.
The winter my first bunny died (and the difference between a bunny and a rabbit is the difference between a pet and livestock, to me), the snow was so high that when we shoveled it out of the driveway against the fence of the yard, it got up to six inches from the top. A coyote wandered over one night. The dogs were in the house: Dickens wasn't more than three months old, Brutus was dying of cancer (as was Flower, the bunny), and Arco was a guide dog puppy in training, never more than the length of his leash away from whoever was watching him, mostly me.
Flower died in the winter, and with all the snow, we put him in the freezer until spring. (My dad normally stashes gophers, road kill, whatever in the freezer for making specimins of, when the freezer gets too full, my mom bags them up and sends them to work with him, he'll leave them forever elsewise, but dead critters in the freezer is normal.)
Brutus died in the spring. We burried them together in the front garden, where the lilies of the valley and the hollyhocks grow. For years they touched noses every morning through the cage wire, as if to check that all was well in the other's world.
Arco is dead now, burried down behind my parents house, and Dickens so arthritic that he can barely walk. We are born, we age, we die, and for animals it is so short a time.
Humans, we fight death anyway we can, as if we know we are meant for eternity, but we don't quite grasp the changes that have to happen first.


  • At 4:24 PM, January 27, 2006, Blogger heidi said…

    That was such a gentle commentary on the passage of time.

    Nicely done.

  • At 10:58 AM, January 28, 2006, Blogger BoysMom said…

    Thank you, Heidi. This was totally stream of conciousness writing. I think I went back twice to fix typos, and that was it.
    I didn't set out to write anything in particular, is what I mean. I'm glad you got something from it.


Post a Comment

<< Home