The kids and I were minding our own business driving down a divided highway. There were woods on either side and a nicely manicured median between the lanes. To the right, I saw a hawk flying low crossing over to the woods on the opposite side of the road. Hawks are my favorite birds of prey (is it weird to have a favorite bird of prey?) so I’m always giddy when I see one. This time, though, I noticed that the bird had something in its talons. I couldn’t identify what it was so I didn’t feel particularly sad for its victim. I just assumed the creature was something that I don’t necessarily about like a snake or a sewer rat or a politician. It’s not everyday that you witness nature’s beauty and brutality all at once so I pointed it out to the kids.
“Guys, look! That hawk caught something! It’s in it’s claws!” All eyes were on the hawk as it flew from right to left across our field of vision. Suddenly and somehow in slow motion, though, it dropped its meal in the median. “Oh, no! He dropped it!” I yelled.
We all looked over to see what it was and it was the worst thing imaginable. A furry brown, floppy eared bunny no bigger than my foot. There were screams and wailing and gnashing of teeth from the kids. “Oh my God! Mom! It’s a bunny! Get the bunny! Pull over and save him” they pleaded. But there was heavy traffic, no where to pull over and, honestly, I was afraid I’d vomit all over the bunny and these cute new sandals I was wearing. “I can’t, guys. There’s too much traffic- he’ll probably be fine” I tried to assure them while being quietly horrified. I told them not to look back since after escaping the grip of the hawk and somehow surviving a fall from a great height, he began furiously hopping toward traffic.
I didn’t look back either, choosing to believe that the bunny dodged all on-coming cars like a boss and made it safely back to his warm little burrow in the forest- all cuddled up tight with an organic carrot.
The kids sat in stunned silence with their mouths and tear stained eyes wide open. I don’t think anyone spoke for the next 15 minutes. They were freaked out and upset with me for “making them look”.
“I’m so sorry you guys saw that. I never imagined that would happen- I know it’s upsetting. That’s what you call ‘the circle of life’ and it can seem cruel and awful, can’t it?”
Still, no one said a word and that’s when I realized that the bunny had given me a gift in his brutal demise. The next time they’re fighting and bickering and bitching relentlessly, all I have to say is “Hey- do you guys remember the hawk and the bunny?”
Damn, fauna, you gruesome and a provider of leverage.