Wednesday, July 01, 2015
The Mighty Snowball is Fallen
The Mighty Snowball is gone.
He had been losing weight for a bit but still seemed to have an appetite, still energetic and playful and interactive. And then today, when I got home, a threshold had been passed, a threshold that animal owners probably know all too well.
He had some of his favorite carrots and a little electrolytes and then we just sat in the chair and rocked waiting for the time to come. He was a family member to the end: he waited until The Ravishing Mrs. TB and Nighean Gheal got home and started to enter the door before he slipped off to hurl his spirit through space.
He was with us about 5.5 years, a school rabbit baby (the size of my hand originally) that came home with Nighean Bhan and eventually ended up a ward of my own (which they most all seem to). He was a fine companion, most tolerant and loving. He loved to race around the back yard and would play tag with you, waiting for you to run to one end of the yard before he then raced after you.
He was the only rabbit I know that made noises as he moved, little sorts of grunts as he hopped back and forth. He loved to be held and be pet and was always one that was happy to see you.
And now, he is gone.
In Richard Adams' classic Watership Down El-Arairah, the rabbit folk hero of the rabbit's tales, has a sort of personal guard - the Owsla - which is a sort of wild hunt of great rabbit heroes, joined by invitation only:
" "You've been feeling tired" said the stranger, "but I can do something about that. I've come to ask whether you'd care to join my Owsla. We shall be glad to have you and you'll enjoy it. If you're ready, we might go along now."
They went out past the young sentry, who paid the visitor no attention. The sun was shining and in spite of the cold there were a few bucks and does at silfay, keeping out of the wind as they nibbled the shoots of spring grass. It seemed to Hazel that he would not be needing his body any more, so he left it lying on the edge of the ditch, but stopped for a moment to watch his rabbits and to try to get used to extraordinary feeling that strength and speed were flowing inexhaustibly out of him into their sleek young bodies and healthy senses.
"You needn't worry about them," said his companion. "They'll be all right - and thousands like them. If you come along, I'll show you what I mean."
He reached the top of the bank in a single powerful leap. Hazel followed, and together they skipped away, running easily through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom."
In my understanding, or maybe my belief of Scripture, animals are part of Heaven (God created them after all and He seems to love them a great deal because He made so many different kinds. I think C.S. Lewis believed the same.). And so I hope, albeit with a few tears in my eyes, that Snowball now runs fast and gloriously across Heaven's green field.
Run hard dear friend. Run free.