10 September, 2008

The Rabbit

I did not take a picture. I will not take a picture. Yet I feel like I cannot go on without showing a picture. So here is a picture I found on the internet.

My lawn is small. Too small to bother with, really. But the grass was getting long, and weeds were taking over, and Rosina asked me to cut it. So I did.

The lawn mower is a simple machine, powered not by gas but by gears alone. Yet as I plow through the yard, the blades turn swiftly -- far more swift than I imagined possible.

I am oblivious to the world as I mow. A song rages through my head and thoughts on the Large Hadron Collider consume my attention. So it is with surprise when I notice a rabbit jumping away from my feet, mere centimeters from where I had just cut down the grass.

That rabbit could have died, I thought. It almost died by my hand. The thought was sobering. I immediately stopped mowing. The song in my mind stopped playing. The LHC took a back seat to the close call I had just made.

That's when I noticed the rabbit's mate.

She lay behind me, almost invisible in the grasses. I had hurt her. I had damaged her. Not with my blades, but by rolling over her with the wheel of my lawn-mower.

For a split moment, I thought of how lucky she was to have missed my blades. But then I realized it was worse than I'd imagined. One of her eyes was red. She was bleeding internally.

My heart stopped, just as the rabbit vainly tried to jump away, with the entire left side of her body fully paralyzed. She pushed herself in circles, again and again, as I watched helplessly. This is my fault, I told myself.

Through carelessness, I had caused such unnecessary pain and suffering. Through pointless singing and idle physics wonderings that I've no business to think of while handling such dangerous blades.

She was dying, but slowly. Ever so slowly. Blood started seeping from one ear, though the blood in her eye lay locked behind the cornea. I had to kill her now. I had to, to end the suffering.

Rosina directed me to the only instrument of death in the house: a small shovel. I took it.

Carefully, I carried the poor rabbit to the woods beside the house. There, in the shelter of trees, I apologized for the seventh time to the rabbit before me. And I raised the shovel, ready to strike. I wanted to do it one blow.

But I could not even attempt it.

I stood there, shovel in hand, yet could not strike. I could not bear to kill her.

Softly, I returned to Rosina, and asked if she could do it. I asked if she could deal the blow that the poor rabbit needed so dearly. But Rosina, true to form, insisted that she could not. It was up to me. It was up to me, or else the rabbit would die a horrible death of slow agony.

So I returned to the rabbit, knowing I would blog this immediately afterward. Knowing that if I so chose, I could bring my camera to take a picture. But I did not. I could not.

Instead, I cut off her head, then crushed her skull.


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