The way toward inner peace is to be one with the bunny

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Enterprise columnist

* EditorÕs note: Debra is taking the week off. This column first ran in April 2004

It was a new ÒI told you soÓ record. After only five days of bunny ownership, my teenager marched into the kitchen one morning, bleary-eyed and grumbly, and announced, ÒThe bunnyÕs going back.Ó

ÒI told you I was gonna tell you I told you so,Ó I called back gleefully, with the level of satisfaction that inspires some to light a cigarette.

I followed her into her room and found her briskly packing up the bunnyÕs belongings, while the bunny crouched in wide-eyed innocence in its cage, whiskers twitching, ears pricked to catch every detail.

ÒProblems?Ó I asked.

ÒIt makes noise all night long. And it stinks!Ó

Seizing the opportunity for deep maternal gratification, I deliciously reviewed all the drawbacks of bunny ownership, one by one. Slowly. My daughter glared back in annoyance. But she couldnÕt deny a word.

God, itÕs good being a mom.

OK. I gloated. So what. She gave me stretch marks. WeÕre about 3,000 I-told-you-sos from being even.

My daughter called our friend and local bunny dealer, Sarah, and informed her that weÕd be returning the bunny. We arrived on her doorstep a little while later, my daughter lugging the cage, me holding the bunny (who, by the way, is named ÒBunnyÓ).

Sarah held out her hands. I looked down at the tiny black and white fluffball with its vacant, shiny black eyes and perpetually bouncing pink nose, and I felt a pull in my chest. My eyes started to sting. And then leak a little. I turned my head so Sarah wouldnÕt see.

Crying over a stupid bunny? What gives???

Lest you think IÕm completely mental, or hormonal, or both, consider that in the weeks just prior to bringing the bunny into our household, my father died, my son went back to college and my best friend returned to the East Coast. IÕd had to say goodbye to too many people I love and at that particular moment, I just couldnÕt say goodbye to one more thing. Not even a stupid bunny.

You see, during those recent sad, lonely evenings, IÕd developed a habit of going into my daughterÕs room and quietly holding Bunny on my lap. SheÕd lay on her back endlessly as long as IÕd rub her tummy. One spot in particular, right in the middle of her tummy, was so relaxing that even that ever-bouncing nose would hold still. And so would my restless mind.

IÕm no master of Eastern philosophy, but surely this qualifies as a Zen moment. My mind was calm. Sad thoughts dissipated. I experienced internal peace.

I was one with the bunny.

Those were the first un-sad moments IÕd had in weeks. And now I had to hand the bunny back? A few questions first, please. What would the bunny eat? Would she get baby carrots every day and her favorite treat Ñ fresh parsley? No, Sarah said sheÕd just get ordinary alfalfa pellets.

Egads.

And how much quality time would she be spending with Bunny? Who would take over the nightly Zen tummy-rub ritual? And where would Bunny live?

Sarah informed me (as I blamed my leaky, watery eyes on non-existent allergies) that no, she didnÕt have time for any daily Zen Bunnism, and that Bunny would be returned to an outside pen with all the other bunnies. (Like some common animal!) I couldnÕt do it. My arms turned to stone. They just wouldnÕt hand Bunny back.

We returned home as we set out, Bunny and accouterments in tow, my daughter once again glaring in annoyance. If she was an evil child, she would have read me my own riot act on the pitfalls of bunny ownership, but apparently she sensed my fragile state, and merely informed me that from that moment on, Bunny belonged to me and relinquished all further bunny responsibilities.

ThatÕs OK. ItÕs a fair exchange. I provide parsley and carrots, dump out BunnyÕs little litter box and let her romp around in the bathtub while I get dressed in the morning. Bunny, in turn, is an unlimited source of calm. Whatever stress I have during the day can be dissipated with a little bunny time. You usually need a prescription for that kind of relaxation.

Now that Bunny was mine, a little spoiling was in order. I bought her a jute-covered carrot toy, some wooden chew sticks and a cute little fluffy bed that looks like a slipper, and settled Bunny into her new home on top of the cabinet in the garage. (Zen or no Zen, she wasnÕt moving into my bedroom.)

Before placing her in her newly upgraded cage, I cradled her in my hands. It felt good. It felt right. If she were human, weÕd pick out curtains.

I could tell Bunny felt the same way. She stared up at me with those dark, round, unblinking eyes, and I could almost hear her say, ÒWell done, Kimosabe.Ó

Or whatever a Zen Bunnist would say.

Ñ Follow Debra DeAngelo on Twitter. Links are posted at and http://www.edebra.com http://www.wintersexpress.com. Find DebraÕs columns online at http://www.wintersexpress.com, http://www.edebra.com and http://www.ipinion.me

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