Honeysuckle died last night and today we buried her under the magnolia tree. She was Anita’s eight-year-old beloved angora rabbit, a creature who delighted in flowers (P5030002), apple branches, pop corn, and once even ate a romance novel specifically purchased for her chewing pleasure. Whether this helped her love life, I’m not sure as she was not easily impressed by males. But something must have clicked during a night spent with a worldly buck because a few weeks later she delivered 10 gorgeous babies.
Since we were housemates with Anita for some time, Honeysuckle lived on our back porch in Rochester and delighted everyone with her bunny ways. (Well, nearly everyone.) There was a repairman who once came to our back door and when I let him onto the porch, Honeysuckle bounded out of her hutch and dashed to his feet as was her habit. The guy had no idea what sort of fast-moving white thing was about to attack him. He gave a frightened howl and jumped back swearing, “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?”
Chewing was a favorite past time and eventually she managed to deconstruct her hutch by gnawing off a leg. She chewed an heirloom wool rug, the wood frame around the bottom of the porch screen, and shoes left unattended by the back door. Her most costly habit was nipping computer power cords in under a second. We even offered her electrical extension cords, but no, only live wires would do; it was that little electric buzz she liked.
Angoras are known for their soft wool coats and must be sheared regularly. Between shearings Honeysuckle’s coat grew until she looked like a giant bedroom slipper. Over the years she produced an enormous amount of soft snow-white wool for spinning into yarn, easily dyed into a rainbow of colors, and ready to be made into hats, scarves, and crafts. After she was sheared, for several weeks she looked and felt like a mobile chenille bedspread.
Honeysuckle had a way of letting you know when she wanted to be scratched and petted. She would nudge your feet and if you didn’t respond she would dig at you and even nip until you finally bent to hold and stroke her.
When she gave birth to ten babies they joined her on the back porch until they went to other homes. It was pandemonium back there on most days. A living seething mass of black and white. Because they were too playful and always demanding to be nursed, like most mothers, Honeysuckle needed breaks from them and hopped up on places too high for them to reach. They quickly learned to jump up on a wooden box, put their paws on the window and peer into our dining room. As they grew they even jumped the barriers so that anyone who opened the back door was greeted by a crowd of babies hoping to dash into the kitchen.
Honeysuckle will be missed. In all her rabbity-ness she was a creature who lived exactly as God had made her to be and in doing that, she gave us great gladness. In a world where we encounter rage and violence and much else that grieves our hearts, we pause to thank God for creatures that have brightened our day and brought us laughter and love. We are rightly sad when their little lives come to anend.
We laid her in the ground and Denis read Psalm 104 part of which reads:
O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures … Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
And then we prayed:
“Almighty and everlasting God, you made the universe with all its marvelous order, its atoms, worlds, and galaxies, and the infinite complexity of living creatures [including white angora bunnies with their lovely soft wool]: Grant that, as we probe the mysteries of your creation, we may come to know you more truly, and more surely fulfill our role in your eternal purpose; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”