A Snowball’s chance in heaven

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As a kid, I got a pet rabbit, a fluffy, white little critter named, not surprisingly, Snowball. I was 7 and oh, did I love that rabbit. I used to take him out of his cage and place him on the rug, watching his little wrinkling, twitching nose, transfixed for hours. I mean, it was ridiculous.

Of course, Snowball being a rabbit and me being a kid with little thought about mortality, I gave little thought to what lay in our future. On day, after an enormous thunderstorm, I wandered down to his big outdoor cage in the backyard. There, inside the still dripping chain-link cage, lay Snowball, soggy, limp and undeniably deceased. I wailed and sobbed, overwhelmed by grief for a creature I loved.

My poor mother, seeing me distraught, said she’d buy me another rabbit. And she did. But I got two, instead of one. Soon enough, there were little bunnies and, as their famed propensity for producing offspring foretold, those rabbits did it like rabbits, till we had so many they were squeezing out between the chain links. That was in the mid-70s and to this day, my mother’s yard still has rabbits hopping here and there.

My mind only turned momentarily to those little hoppers about a month ago, when I went out with a friend, Simone Lupson-Cook. Simone is a general falconer and keeps two hawks — a red-tailed and a goshawk — and I’d contacted her a short while before about heading out with her and the red-tailed, named Chase, to film her hunting with him. She agreed and not only brought Chase, but Cricket, a young goshawk. The day was gorgeous and for a couple of hours, they soared from her glove to tree limbs, dove to the ground and caught a rabbit (or at least, Chase did). It was a stupendous day, truly.

I took a good amount of video of the morning. I’m planning to turn it into a short film, but here’s a trailer, to whet the appetite. When it’s done, I’ll make sure I’ll post it, with apologies to Snowball.