Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rabbit Picnic

The pink apple blossoms bloomed high in the trees on this one particular warm spring day. Each breeze carried their fragrant perfume to the noses of the inhabitants of the park. And inhabited it was.

Many different type of furry critter hopped, ran and made their home here. The occasional human passer-by seldom noticed all the life around him; too self absorbed with cell phones and mp3 players to notice the music of Mother Nature that filled the park.

But the animals noticed their human visitors. They watched the strange habits of the people. One most curious activity was eating. A group of humans would spread a blanket on the ground, cover it with food and eat. A picnic, the humans called it.

The squirrels became masters of the picnic. A run close to the humans with a stop, a stare and a quick shake of the tale would elicit an exchange of food. Crusts of bread, cookies and other delicacies casually tossed to the hungry beggars.

The birds noticed too. They quickly learned that a well placed coo and waddle on the ground would earn them a tasty morsel.

But hiding from the safety of the bushes, the rabbits observed also. Naturally timid creatures, they didn’t want to make a spectacle of themselves. Full of pride, they didn’t want to beg for treats. Ever mindful of the humans, they just watched from their safe perches.

But this warm spring day, the rabbits held a meeting. They gathered in a seldom used corner of the park early that morning. They came in families. They came by the clan. They came by the hundreds.

They came from far and wide to meet with the bunny king who thumped his big hind leg, calling the meeting to order.

"No longer should we hide and cede our home to the humans. We should gather in the open for our own picnic. We should reform bonds and play and rejoice this lovely spring day together."

The rabbits looked at one another unaccustomed to not hiding. The king continued, "Our shear numbers will protect us. Let us declare this day Rabbit Picnic day."

For too long, the rabbits felt like second class citizens of the park. They had been relegated to the bushes and burrows, always hiding, always fearful. But that day they pricked up their ears in solidarity.

They’d have their own picnic at high noon in the center of the park. The rabbits scurried back to their own sections of the park to gather the food for the picnic.

Now with such a large park, not every rabbit got to partake in vegetation from other areas. Some families gathered tender dandelion greens. Others had stored away bits of dried apple from the previous fall. Each family brought to the picnic foods from their area.

At noon, the rabbit families began to gather at the park’s center bringing their contributions to the picnic. There was every kind of food the bunnies could imagine, from sweet berries to bitter kale; a true rabbit feast.

There were big bunnies, small bunnies, light bunnies, dark bunnies. Every size and color rabbit came to the picnic.

The rabbits played out in the open. They ran and chased. They played leap bunny and hopped a rabbit dance. They gathered by the hundreds knowing together they’d be safe and protected.

It was a sight to be seen. Not only did the other animals in the park take notice, but the humans too. Embolden by their sheer numbers, the bunnies accepted morsels from the humans who laughed with glee at the sight.

The squirrels noticed the humans giving food to the bunnies. They became enraged because the rabbits were taking food that normally they would have.

The squirrels decided to mount an aerial attack. They climbed trees and started dropping acorns on the bunnies below, but the rabbit fur was so thick, the nuts just bounced off. The rabbits continued to party below.

Next, the squirrels decided to mount a ground attack. They tried to break into the group of rabbits, but the larger rabbits faced the squirrels head on. Since the rabbits were twice the size of the squirrels, they simply chased them off. Most of the rabbits never realized there was a problem.

The humans laughed at the sight and tossed more treats to the brave bunnies. The picnic continued until almost dark.

At the end of the picnic, the rabbits reluctantly parted, but they carried with them a new found freedom. They’d watch out for one another and not hide as much. They’d gather early in the mornings and late in the evenings to share food and play. They’d thump warning to one another if they spotted danger.

They realized that together they could defeat foes and that their foes would not always be apparent. Some that should be on their side would sometimes turn on them to advance their own selfish gains.

So the next time you’re in a park on a warm spring day, look for the bunnies eating and at play. And if you’re lucky, you may just stumble upon a bunny picnic.