“Just watching an animal closely can take you out of your mind and bring you into the present moment, which is where the animal lives all the time–surrendered to life.” — Eckhart Tolle, Guardians of Being
Casper, my son Max’s Netherland Dwarf bunny, is a mystic. I’m sure of it. You can see the universe in his huge black eyes. The unblinking gaze; the feel of the grey fur soft as butterfly wings; the silence of his gentle hopping when he takes flight from your lap, all of this and more draws your attention hypnotically to the fuzzy bundle.
He takes such delight in simply being, it’s impossible to not be pulled into his positive energy field. Did you know that bunnies actually click their heels in the air when they’re happy? It’s true. I’ve seen it.
Max, Casper’s caregiver, is my 13-year-old extrovert child, always itching to be out exploring the world with his friends, always looking for adventure. If he’s not stirring up mayhem with his buddies or protecting the goal on the soccer field, he is plugged in through texting and social media and Skype. The concept of “stillness” is anathema to Max. Casper is the antidote.
Sometime last winter, Max was “spending some time in his room.” I don’t even remember what happened; all I know is that I didn’t have the patience or conscious awareness or whatever it was I needed to parent effectively in the moment. We needed some time apart to clear the negative vibes.
A little later, I checked in on Max. I found him on the floor with a pencil and paper, drawing a portrait of Casper, who posed patiently inches away from his boy’s face. Casper looked at Max head-on, which is not an easy angle from which to draw a rabbit. A lot of erasing was going on, but Max kept at it. Every now and then Casper took a couple of hops to loosen up, but then returned to his posing spot. I watched in the doorway a while longer, letting Max know I was there as a non-angry person, but saying nothing.
Later that night Max left a sweet and accurate rendition of Casper on my pillow. Then he went back to his room and wrote a letter to the snow gods asking for a school closure the next day. He had pulled out all of his usual stops when snow was forecast, wearing his pajamas backwards and flushing ice down the toilet. Casper was back in his hutch outside, having worked his own magic.