“I can’t wait to go to Gran and Papa’s house for Easter tomorrow,” Lydia swooned dramatically and fell backward into my arms.
“Oof, watch my toes,” I told her, standing her back up and spinning her in a circle. “What are you looking forward to most about Gran and Papa’s?”
She curtseyed and then pirouetted while using my shoulder for support. “I am very excited about the rabbits!”
My parents have rabbits that live in their yard. While I was growing up, there were no rabbits at all in the yard, just some neighbors that raised pet rabbits. Fast-forward several decades and there is now an entire rabbit civilization developing on my parent’s lawn.
The little-girl-that-never-stops-moving closed her eyes and fell into me again, breathlessly wishing out loud, “Oh, I hope I hope I hope that we have caught five of them. One for each of us. Everyone in our family with at least one rabbit each.”
I stood her back up again and held her there by her shoulders. “Lydia, what are you talking about?”
“Rabbits!” she sang. “Beautiful rabbits.”
“You are trapping them?”
“Yes. Gideon and I made a trap the other day, out by the garden.”
I suddenly remembered. My parents have a mountain of topsoil near their greenhouse, and my two youngest children recently spent an entire Friday digging in it.
“Lydia, what kind of trap did you make?” I was getting a little nervous about her plans.
“Oh, we dug a big big hole on the top of the hill, and then we covered it with a big sheet of metal that we found.” She saw the face I was making and quickly added, “It had holes in it. Like a fence really.” She watched my face as it continued to react. “And, we just put it, um… over the hole. Like a lid. Perfectly safe.”
I had a vague memory now of seeing them do this while I had sat next to the campfire several yards away. They had dragged the large sheet of metal fencing from behind the greenhouse and balanced it on top of their miniature volcano, then they had shaken hands, and walked off.
“How is that going to catch rabbits?” I asked.
Her eyebrows banged together on her forehead. “What do you mean? The rabbits won’t be able to get out through the fence. The holes are too small. That is how they will be caught.”
“Right, so… if they can’t get through the fence, how are the rabbits going to get into the hole in the first place?”
She jerked her head back as if she were shocked by my naivety. “How do rabbits get anywhere?”
I waited for her to explain, but apparently, that was it. Her entire plan was to place a sheet of fencing on top of a hole and now she had complete faith that she would come back several days later and find that hole bursting with at least five happy little rabbits. And this faith was based on her belief that rabbits, perhaps, appear out of thin air. After all, she could look out of her grandmother’s front window and possibly see a rabbit, just casually sitting, anywhere, at any given moment. If it is possible for a rabbit to be anywhere, then why not inside a hole covered in metal?
I considered this mystical property of rabbits. In my mind, I saw a magician on stage, taking off his hat, showing that it was empty, then delicately reaching inside and removing a full grown rabbit. Then, I pictured my parent’s yard as if it were also a top hat. I looked inside it, as a child. There were no rabbits. A flick of the wrist later, I’m an adult, and there are hundreds of rabbits. You can’t explain that sort magic in any other way.
Perhaps this little girl was onto something.
I was brought back to reality by a child that seemed to be trying to climb my arm like a hanging vine. I shook her free and brushed her hair out of her face to get her attention. and calm her down, “Alright. Lydia, I have thought it through, and I think your trap might actually work.”
“Yes!” she shot into the air, “I knew it! Five Rabbits, Dad. There will be five rabbits. Maybe even seven rabbits, so Gran and Papa can each keep one.” She tumbled down the stairs calling for her brother. “Gideon! Gideon, we’re going to have rabbits!”