We drove down the state road to the
interstate, like any other day. We have yet to hit an animal of any kind on the
road. We saw seven rabbits on the road during our last camping excursion and
managed to miss them all, but we have had to get used to seeing many a fallen
victim tossed on the roadside felled by other less careful drivers….tossed
aside like so much garbage. Suddenly we passed a small grey body writhing in
the middle of the on-coming lane. I could not bear to leave it be, so we turned
back, hoping at least to confirm the lack of continued suffering.
I ran out of the car and out on to the road.
There, lying under a streaked pool of her own blood, was a precious life …now passed
from this world. The writhing had stopped. Her neck had been broken so severely
that the skin had been ripped off of her neck. So beautiful she was though…
soft brown fur, fluffy tail, smooth pink ears, and clear brown eyes now dulled
of life. I touched her and felt her release one final shallow breath…then
nothing more. I scooped her up in my arms, I could feel her warm blood on my
hands, and I carried her to a bed of clover and laid her down. I stoked her fur
and told her how sorry I was for how stupid we as humans are….how disrespectful
As I scrubbed her blood from my
hands, I thought about how insignificant humans think rabbits are (as well as
most other animals) because there are so many of them. They don’t matter
because there are millions of them, they all look the same, we can’t
communicate with them, and they aren’t as intelligent, yadda yadda yadda. How
insignificant are they though? They may seem insignificant to us, but to each
rabbit, to each being, they are very significant. How many times have we, as
humans, felt like one of billions of faceless ants marching along the same path?
We often treat other humans we do not know as being insignificant, but if we
stopped for a minute, and really got to know the person and their life, we
would feel for them more deeply and understand them as individuals. We are insignificant
to others until they know who we are, than we could be their best friend or the
love of their life. Each animal is an individual unto themselves. They don’t
need to seem significant to us for them to be deserving of their life.
Would we not seem so insignificant
to other species? How would we feel if our lives were deemed to not matter by
an intelligent race of alien beings? There are so many of us, we may all look
the same to them, they may not understand us, and we would be less intelligent
than them. Would that justify the new dominant species taking us as slaves and
using us as entertainment, play things, experiments, clothing, food, or “good
sport”? Would we accept our fate as the inferior species, or would we feel the
victims of grave injustice and fight against our malevolent oppressors with all
the force left in us?
The rabbit whose death I witnessed
was an individual, and that individual is gone forever and cannot be replaced.
She had a personality and identity all her own. She may have had a name in a language
we are too stupid to understand. She had preferences and dislikes, fears and
hopes, memories. She hoped to survive, but sometimes the world can look pretty
hopeless. After I got back in the car I had flashes of what her last moments
must have been like. I imagined it so deeply I could feel it. I could feel her
panic … the sudden impact … writhing in pain and fear…trying in vain to get a
broken body to work in those last moments…then fading out of consciousness,
cars mindlessly rushing over you.
Some may say that we are all
insignificant, but I prefer to believe that we are all very much significant. We are each
a unique thread in the increasingly complex and elaborate tapestry of life, and
each pulled fiber changes and potentially compromises the integrity of the
entire design. Also, each individual is an entire universe unto themselves, each our own tapestry. We
are both all alone and all together on this earth. For a life to matter, it
need only be significant to itself. Assuming that they must also account
themselves to us is merely human egotism at work…. “What purpose does it serve
to me/humans?” Each life is ultimately about the individual. My life is not
about you; your life is not about me. That rabbit’s life is not about you….it’s
about the rabbit. I will call her Peace….which is what I hope for the world and
all of her sentient beings.
Please feel free to join my fight and follow me on....