Day of the Lawn Lepus
The icy stare of cold indifference…Photo by Wei Fukuyama on Unsplash
Thursday is a lawn mowing day around these parts. It’s the day before trash pickup, and I wanted to get the fresh cut grass taken care of, so that I won’t have to smell hot clippings in the can all week. The sun was out amid patchy clouds and a cool breeze is ruffling the palm leaves. That morning was perfect for landscaping. It felt like a scene from a Hollywood production about the best attributes of owning a lawnmower.
That’s when it happened.
I was just getting the weed wacker battery out of the charger; it was now up to full power and awaiting the assault on the wild and unruly grass. Trimming the yard was the first step. Once I finished trimming the yard, I got the abdominal punishing push mower out of the garage to finish the job. It meticulously caps off the blades, resulting in an even trim that appears good until I get in the pool and look at it from ground level. Then I see all the spots I’ve missed.
My wife and I then watched a desert cottontail rabbit that hopped across the back porch. They’re rare around here. Whenever we see one, it’s usually because it will get behind the wicker furniture on the porch to hide out in the shade. There isn’t much vegetation around here, so once a rabbit sees the lawn and bushes in our backyard, it must think it’s found rabbit Valhalla.
I waited until the coffee kicked in and made my move. I stepped out the backdoor and headed for the lawn, when I spotted the rabbit and it spotted me. It sat there nibbling on the grass and we stared at each other like the Earps and the Clantons at the O.K. Corral.
Living in the desert is hard. The sun's rays make the sand too hot to walk on barefoot. The hot wind can whip sand into your face, making it hard to see. You can't hear anything except for the wind's howling, the whine of an air conditioner and the occasional cry of a bird. There is no shade, no water, and no sign of life. This is what it’s like to live as a rabbit in the desert.
So, I cut the rabbit some slack.
This summer has been brutally hot. I went back in the house and used the respiteful rabbit lying in repose as an excuse to get another cup of coffee. Any excuse that I can come up with to put off doing yard work when the temperature outside hovers around triple digits is one of my superpowers.
After waiting a few minutes, I ventured outside again, this time filled with resolve to get after the work to be done, rabbit or no rabbit. I noticed the creature lying on the grass with its legs spread and belly exposed..
I took one look and felt an emphatic kinship with the cottontail. That had to be the coolest the rabbit had been in a long time. That rabbit had reached a state of rabbit nirvana. Far be it for me to disturb it from a momentary feeling of whatever bliss a rabbit can experience in that moment.
I put the weed wacker down on the wicker patio furniture chair and stepped back inside. There would be plenty of time to finish my chore. I might even put it off for the next day.
It only took a couple of minutes before the intrusive cottontail exited the premises of its own accord. I hope the rabbit enjoyed itself. If it gets eaten or hit by a car, at least it had a few moments to cool off and relax a bit.
It’ll probably come back and poop on the pool furniture.