So I was thinking as I looked at the brown frozen mass partially covered in snow - another dead bunny. Obviously.
A couple weeks ago I woke up and looked out my bedroom window which faces my deck and the golf course in my backyard. I was excited to see the mountains of snow had started melt, uncovering my deck stairs and.....a dead bunny.
I have an immense love for animals.
So it shouldn't surprise you that the sight of the dead bunny (who obviously passed months ago during our brutally cold and unforgiving winter and whose brown, wet, and frozen fur was revealed now as warming temperatures uncovered her huddled little body) caused me to catch my breath and utter a sad, "ohhhhh no, poor bunny" several times.
I also have an often over-active sense of empathy.
So it shouldn't surprise you that the sight of the dead bunny (who obviously died alone at the bottom of my steps before she could find shelter under my deck, just feet away) brought me to tears as I said a short prayer for the furry traveler who transitioned without ceremony, months ago.
You know what else? I have a very vivid and fertile imagination.
So it shouldn't surprise you that I quickly imagined that this dead bunny obviously left behind a loving family and friends (quite a few, reproductive statistics would indicate) and I easily was transported to scenes from one of my favorite books, "Watership Down" (a novel set in England featuring a small group of rabbits that live in their natural environment but have their own culture, language, love stories, and adventures.) Having successfully anthropomorphized (given human characteristics) to the life and death of the dead bunny I looked to more practical matters: disposing of the body. I've buried and disposed of dead birds, mice, and even a kitten on the farm. I'm always taken aback by the weight of the lifeless body. I know it's just a shell, but when I imagined myself picking up the bunny with gloved hands and putting it in a plastic bag to throw in the trash...Ugh.
I called my brother, David, and explained what the thaw had revealed and asked if he could come and collect the furry carcass without imaging it had a family and wore a spring bonnet and cute little smock on Sundays. He agreed, with a somewhat sympathetic chortle, that he could do me that favor and it was implied that he, obviously, would not entertain the thought that the bunny was anything more than a small mammal whose death was as natural as the snow melting in spring.
Meanwhile, the melting snow had also revealed "treasures" left by several dogs I had watched over the winter that I had obviously missed picking up in-between snow storms. I went out to shovel and scoop while repeating in my head,
"Don't look at the dead bunny. Don't look at the dead bunny."
Of course, and obviously, I looked at the dead bunny. It took less than 5 seconds for me to realize the dead bunny was a stump. Yep, a tree stump. I had placed it in my landscaping last fall for decoration. Obviously. Wow - perception.
Perception: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something. There is ALWAYS more than one way to perceive an event, a remark, a sign, a message, a look, a post, an action, or a reaction.
What perception we align with (fueled by fear or love) is ALWAYS our choice.
I CHOSE to see a dead bunny instead of considering other options. And not only did I choose it, I quick-as-a-bunny attached to the choice and willingly set off a cascading line of emotional triggers fueled by my remnants of fear of loss, aloneness, uncertainty, and a bit of self-pity for good measure. I am constantly sharing Facebook posts on my personal and artist page regarding perception. Yet it took a dead bunny to shift the insights from my head to my heart.
Message received: Our perceptions shape our reality. Choose wisely.
Have you read Watership Down by
Richard Adams? If not I recommend it!
Evidently there's a movie and a series -
I haven't watched either, yet.
Can you recall a time when you were obviously
perceiving something the "correct" way only
to see it completely different after taking some time,
reflection, or receiving new information? Reality is
always changing and open to new interpretation!