HOW WE RESPOND TO EARTH'S CREATURES SAYS A LOT By Ella Miller
I went out into the yard on a glorious morning to pick peas from our garden. The garden stretches for about 15 feet inside of handcrafted wooden boxes a little over two feet tall. As I reached down into the green foliage to pull out veggies, I felt something soft and furry. Came to realize it was four bunnies that some smart momma bunny managed to get inside the garden bed to keep them safe from predators. I called my children over and we marveled at the sweet site of these cuddly creatures huddle together. They seemed to be a few weeks old but a bit frail. The next day the bunnies were still there — no sign of their mother so I questioned whether they were being tended to. So we, as a family, talked about what to do with them. Keep them there? Shoo them away? Put food out for them? I took the stance that they should be protected and provided nourishment to give them the best chances of survival. And that it was mandatory to keep an eye on our dog so he doesn't go sniffing around (or into) that garden box and discovering the bunnies. We all know that would not end well! After all, he's a dog and his nature is to chase animals.
However, not everyone in the household had the same point of view. My husband mentioned that maybe it's not our job to interfere with nature. Momma bunny placed her bunnies in there and it's her job to take care of them. And if she cannot, it's not our responsibility to intervene. And if predators find them, that's "survival of the fittest"
in action — that's nature!
So, in essence, was he suggesting that even though we CAN do something, we SHOULDN'T do something? This approach troubled me deep inside and, other than the obvious "I don't want harm to come to cute bunnies," it finally came to me why this had been weighing on my mind so heavily. There was a larger exercise and outlook to take into account. For me, it came down to how, as humans, we have a choice. We can either choose to get involved and help — to the best of our abilities — to try and impact a positive outcome OR we can turn away, do nothing, and hope things turn out OK. I don't just mean in relation to these animals, but to each other. We should all try to assist each other however we can.
My approach called for an investment in time, care, patience, and empathy. My husband's approach involves leaving everything to chance. Neither way was wrong, it was just a different way to approach the same circumstance.
For me, this experience seemed like an opportunity to teach something profound to my boys, like what it means to be a nurturing human being... and how a little kindness and care can go a long way.
Well, the rabbits stuck around for days. I did what I felt was right... treating those fuzzy babies like I'd want someone to treat mine — making sure they had the right stuff to eat and drink. Providing them with soft foliage to nest in. Protecting them from heavy summer rainfall with a tarp over the garden box (because research said that little rabbits can drown in heavy rainfall). In the end, the rabbits lived in the garden for ten days and, once they were strong enough, hopped away. That was a happy day! I did what I could and had no regrets. And my children took away a valuable lesson in responsibility and respecting Earth's creatures.