Rabbit Hour

One. Two. Three. I see them. Four. Five. They’re everywhere. Suddenly. Furtively flitting across the neighbors’ lawns, their eyes like little brown pools of ready energy, fear maybe. The dog sits in the window watching them, his jaw working in small spasms, his predator’s stare jumping from tuft to tuft. He clicks and whimpers softly with want.

We thought the fox den at the bottom of the road would reduce the population, or the fat, red-tailed hawks skreeing and circling overhead. Something, evidently, is still out of balance.

The dog is unreliable at rabbit hour. He struggles to sit, stay, or just to return home on command. His eyes glaze. He’s no longer in charge of himself. Something amygdal has taken over.

The rabbit’s long lower leg is a highly evolved lever. It multiplies speed that an animal so small, tender, and evidently irresistible needs to evade a demon-possessed dog, who tears around the neighborhood, diving into bushes and hurdling obstacles, while its human becomes increasingly irritated.

Quite where they all go prior to and after this hour of frenzy is a mystery. There must be a burrow, or even a warren nearby. You never see them coming or going. They just materialize at the appointed time.

Django lays low too during the day, our motley brown fool, pit bull mixed with shepherd mixed with who knows what else. His prey drive is strong, and he knows he needs to rest up for an appointment that ends always in futility. Poor guy. But his enthusiasm never dims.

This is me, as the morning grows long, still on the couch. Sweat pants. Tension building in my limbs. My mind no longer able to settle, the need to move overwhelming the tendency to think, maybe even to brood. I look out the window, and I know I’ve just got to get out.