July 5, 2012
Sunday morning we walked Sylvie. There was a beautiful bunny munching grass near the foot of the driveway.
“Hi, Bunny!” I called.
We walked to the end of Jeanne’s road and back. This takes about a half-hour. In that time, one car passed us going in each direction. When we got back to Jeanne’s driveway, I was horrified to find the beautiful rabbit lying in a pool of bright red blood in the road, a few feet from where we’d seen her munching. What the hell — two cars in a half hour and the rabbit got creamed.
I went up to her to see if she was still alive (I don’t know why I think it’s a she) and said to Jeanne, “If she’s still alive, you have to tell me how to get to Fellow Mortals.” But there was no life in her.
“I’m going to move her off the road.”
Jeanne offered me a disposable glove to use, so I trudged up the driveway back to the house next to her, sighing heavily. I was devastated.
All week-end I had been immersed in a very good but very disheartening book about Africa, elephant and rhino poaching, and the elephant orphanage in Kenya I’ve seen featured on 60 Minutes. The book is a memoir called Love, Life and Elephants: An African Love Story by Dame Daphne Sheldrick.
Over and over a heartwarming rescue story would be followed by the sad eventual demise of another captivating hand-reared orphan. Because that is the reality of Daphne Sheldrick’s life — and she wrote a lot about the emotional toll her life’s work takes on her, and did take on her husband until his death.
His ongoing advice to her was: “Turn the page.”
Every time an anti-poaching offensive was followed by increased carnage, every time intensive efforts to save a baby elephant failed, he would remind her to turn the page and get ready for the next arrival.
Anyway, I was already in an I-HATE-HUMANS mode, reflecting on the decimation of Africa’s animal herds. When I saw the bunny I exclaimed, “Ya know, I will be glad when the entire human species dies off. We are the most fucked-up species!”
I returned alone to provide the bunny with a better send-off to the afterlife.
I moved her to the shaded ditch along the road, half under foliage. I attempted to close her eye, apologized on behalf of all humans and wished her well. I started crying, for the violent end to her life, feeling profound sadness about what humans have wrought on this planet. The micro and macro-cosms are equally painful.