I killed Bubba. I surely did. On winter nights like this, when all is dark and hushed (‘cept for train whistles in the distance), I’m haunted by the memory.
I had built a bin for compost. Felt it was my duty to return carbon life-forms to the earth from which they sprang. Besides, I’ll admit I rather like working with biota and loam. Kinda like having dirt on my face and forearms.
And I had me a righteous compost pile. I surely did. Grass clippings and leaves, augmented by vegetable rinds, coffee grounds and any and all photosynthesis-addicted matter had grown to quite a mass. Came the spring and time to take pitch fork to detritus, turn the buried to the sun.
And so I did. And in so doing, I catapulted a mass of soft fur end on end. This was something unexpected. I probed the mass and found...Bubba.
Bubba couldn’t have been more than a week old. He was merely an infant and I had just destroyed his nest, his home, his sanctuary. I didn’t know what to do. Leave him there atop the pile...exposed? Perhaps Mom would carry him off to safer shelter? Would Mom even find him in the wreckage? I didn’t/couldn’t know.
I wandered off to fret.
Came back hours later. Bubba, well, he hadn’t moved. His savior never came. Come the night, he’d surely die. I took Bubba inside.
Found him a box. Placed a heating pad on the bottom and cotton batting on top. Ran to the store for an eye-dropper and rich cream. Cupped Bubba in my hand and fed him milk. Stroked his belly so he’d defecate. And he did! Yay!
Kissed him goodnight.
Came the morning and Bubba stirred in his nest. Fed him again. Stroked his belly and whispered words of love and hope. Gotta say, Bubba was a coupla ounces o’ pure cute and innocence.
I fawned and fretted. Offered him milk whenever. Stroked him. Kissed him.
Hoped for him.
Prayed for him.
Felt him grow colder in my palm. Blew my warm breath across his fur. He forsook the eye-dropper. Hung his head in defeat.
Expired in the palm of my hand.
I cried. Wailed, actually. Sobbed uncontrollably. This was all my doing. I had blundered into and onto a life. Disrupted the natural order of things. Came between a mother and infant.
And failed to salvage the situation.
Wracked with guilt, I tried to learn what I could about rearing infant rabbits. What I learned was this: rabbits can’t digest animal fats. The rich cream I offered drop-by-drop to Bubba led directly to his demise.
This happened some twenty years ago.
On winter nights like this, when all is cold, dark and hushed (‘cept for train whistles in the distance), I’m haunted by the memory.
I killed Bubba.
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