Friday, June 27, 2014

Flight of the Rabbit

Flight of the Rabbit
by Lady Rhiannon

            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 and thoughtless.
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.     

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