Dear President Biden,
The other day Laura came home from her walk and asked me if I’d ever seen any of the kajillion wild bunnies in the neighborhood playing with each other. I had to tell her that aside from a little, short-lived chasing, I hadn’t. She then went on to describe the two she saw taking turns hopping over each other.
Well, this morning as I was finishing up my walk I got to witness some adorable bunny play right on our back nature strip. The bunnies were partially obscured by some foxglove volunteers that are growing out of an old stump (if you are picturing a Beatrix Potter illustration you wouldn’t be far off), but I had enough of a sightline on them to be able to see that one bunny was sitting perfectly still while the other hopped over it from one direction and then hopped over it from the other direction, for a total of about six big, over-the-other-bunny hops.
They were playing! And the one really seemed to be trying to perfect its technique. I have no idea whether they were communicating in some way I couldn’t discern, but it looked for all the world like the hopper was somehow saying to the hopee like – “Ok, I’ve almost got it. I’m just going to try it from this side one more time….”
Have you ever seen such a thing?
These are wild-ish bunnies and they clearly could care less about whether any humans were entertained by what they were doing. They were just doing their bunny things for their bunny selves.
I know this last observation isn’t at all revelatory, but I’m telling you about it because I don’t think I’m alone in being guilty of myopically centering humans. Out in the wilderness I’m used to feeling small and out there, I get that I’m part of a very big, very complicated web of living beings. But in the city, I find that I need to intentionally push back on my tendency to assume that the other forms of life living around me are only important in so far as how they relate to me/humans and that they somehow know this. In my day-to-day life I’m generally oblivious to the fact that the outside animals around me have lives that are completely apart from mine (except if they are crossing the street when I’m driving through and I accidentally injure or kill them).
Seeing the two bunnies playing – because really, what else could that bunny-leap-frog game have been but play? – pulled me up short and challenged me to pay closer attention to what the non-humans around me are doing and to try and do so without using my own existence as the referent (though I’m afraid I’ve probably done that with this whole letter about the bunnies since of course I’m writing from my point of view and all that…. Sigh).
Maybe the deal here is that there’s nothing profound to say about it all. I simply enjoyed watching the bunnies doing something I’ve never seen bunnies do before, and that’s that.
May we all be safe from over-thinking things.
May we all be willing to pause and consider the non-humans among us.
May we be healthy and strong enough to be able to leap over one another in single bounds if we’re so moved.
May we all accept and cherish the bits of joy that come our way.