Kirk Ke Wang
Yes, the covid-19 pandemic socially distanced us from the humans. Yet, we are not alone.
We have met many neighbors at our backyard that we did not realized their existence. They have been synchronizing the same breath with us from the lung of our only Mother Earth. And no one gets sick.
In past two and half months, every morning instead of the usual alarm clock, we were awakened by the birdie orchestra of all styles. Every evening we were escorted to our dreams with serenades by the chorus of frogs, crickets, sedates, and other invisible night creatures.
Occasionally, we were greeted by a pair of mother-daughter deer peeking behind the woods, a family of white egrets dancing on the pond, and a lone coyote decorating our garden beds with his foot prints.
We finally noticed that we have a neighbor asserting the same deed of the property, the Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit’s. I say Mr. and Mrs., because recently we found a couple of tiny baby rabbits hopping behind them.
It seems that they knew us better than we knew them. I often met their eyes behind the brushes when I was watering the gardens or mowing the lawn. I saw them during the day and also at night. But only the adults went out at night.
I believe they have a better parenting protocol than we humans.
I am always affectionate to rabbits, ever since my first date with the girl (now my wife), a 19-year-old sophomore from the literature department, when she told me that she was born in the year of the rabbit.
Seeing the rabbits, I am thinking of her. The cute, pretty and innocent rabbit! I may still be able to dig out a few poems and drawings of rabbits in my old diary.
But this is not what I am writing about here.
This morning, I saw a large eagle circling around our trees. It’s so large that I couldn’t help to snap a picture of it.
The whole day, our neighborhood has been unusually quiet.
At night, on the way to my studio in the backyard, I noticed a tiny fluffy thing under my studio door, motionless.
I fixed my eye on it. It’s a baby rabbit!
It’s just a size of a softball. I spotted another dark fluffy thing hiding around the corner in the shadow. An even smaller baby rabbit.
They are the babies of our neighbor’s! Apparently, the bigger one who led the way under my door is the old sister. The one in the shadow is the little brother.
Their eyes quietly fixed on me, motionless.
“What are you doing here at night?”
“Don’t you think it’s passed the bedtime?”
“Where are your parents?”
Speaking about their parents, I recollected the shape of the huge eagle this morning.
They must be hungry after waiting for their parents for the whole day. Are they looking for them, or for food? They must be scared and desperate by running the risk of coming out so late.
Maybe their parents told them they could come to their neighbors for help, if they were in trouble.
My parents certainly told us that during the Cultural Revolution, before they were sent away to the labor camps. They left their best friends quite sum of money and believed that they would take care of my sister and me. Their best friends disappeared.
It was my first time to taste the hunger. I am still bearing the memory of the wrenching stomach of the hunger. My dreams are still flashing through images of my old sister holding my 5-year-old hand on those streets searching for any shapes of the resemblance to my parents…
Their eyes quietly fixed on me, motionless. I saw hungry, helpless and fear.
Maybe their parents are right, and this neighbor could help them? I approached closer to the door stop.
The sister rabbit hesitated for a moment, eyeing at me, then sprinted off the door way. She might remember another advice from her parents: “Don’t trust anyone, even your neighbors!”
Watching her tiny body engulfed by the darkness, I hope she would survive tonight.
The brother rabbit in the shadow, was still motionless, eyes quietly fixed on me. Maybe he was too tired to fight? Maybe he was too scared and gave it up? Or maybe he still believed the goodness of beings (mankind in this case)?
I gently held him in a soft cloth net and put him in to a large ceramic fish tank that we recently acquired.
We fed him some carrots and Buk Troy lettuce.
At least tonight he is safe.
Now, we are facing the centuries old dilemma. Should he prefer the freedom in the wild despite facing the threat of fatality? Or should he choose the comfort and safety in his neighbor’s custody?
No matter what, I made a wish for him to see his sister again…