Sunday, June 28, 2009

Along the Way

“I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit. "No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way.”

Sometime in May, Frank and I stepped up our walking schedule a bit. In addition to our two or three daily walks around the lake with Benny, we opted to indulge in a doggie-free stroll early each evening.

On the Friday, we had barely made our way into the park when this cute little critter caught our attention.

I wondered if it might be the same bunny I've seen regularly in my back yard, as it was certainly around the same size - small. I suppose there's a reason why rabbits procreate at breakneck speed. I think it might partly be to make up for the fact that they're not the brightest of creatures. Where would the bunny population be if they didn't multiply... well.. like rabbits? This little guy watched me, and happily munched on dandelion stems as I advanced toward him with my camera.

From ahead of us along the pathway, two young men approached. One was openly drinking beer. Neither were sober. His buddy caught sight of the rabbit and announced that he was going to catch it so he could cook it. Even intoxicated, it wouldn't have been overly difficult to make physical contact with this seemingly-tame animal, and I didn't want to walk away from the situation, lest he make good on his intention to do it harm.

As L (his friend had referred to him by name) approached the bunny, I spoke to him. Irritation showed in my voice when I strongly suggested that he leave the creature be. He was not to be deterred though, and proceeded to pursue it, knocking a (thankfully empty) bird's nest from the low branch of a pine tree, and clumsily sweeping it aside.

This indiscriminate lack of respect for nature irked me greatly, and it showed in my tone of voice. My volume increased in intensity.

Frank tried to speak to L. He pointed out that it wasn't much of a manly hunt to go after a baby bunny, but the fellow's machismo was in full stride and Frank's attempt at reasoning was met with some choice words from both of the young guys.

The friend who remained on the walking path suggested that we mind our own business - that they were doing nothing wrong. Frank pointed out that they were indeed doing plenty wrong, beginning with an open bottle of beer in a public place. Showing zero respect for his environment, the guy responded with "What beer?" as he flung the bottle into the nearby pond.

Frank is a big man, with a deep, (and if he chooses - booming) voice. They were feeling intimidated, but the alcohol bolstered their pride and they continued to argue with us over the fate of the bunny, and of their rights.

I decided to take a picture of both guys. L took great offense to that and expressed it loudly. He felt that I was now doing something illegal, and perhaps I was, but I continued to snap a shot or two of him on his cell phone while he called the police to complain about someone taking his photograph in the park.

His friend was getting quite agitated by now, and implored L to leave with him. Eventually, they did just that, and the bunny was left to munch on its dandelion stems.

Frank and I continued our walk around the park.
We discussed what happened. Neither of us felt good about it. We had all behaved rather poorly and wished that we could have handled it better. In retrospect, L was unlikely to really hurt the rabbit. He was simply showing off and couldn't back down - pride being what it is. While Frank was speaking to him at close range, he had a bit of insight as to just how young and vulnerable L really was. He'd said to Frank "You're not my father, and I don't have to listen to you." It was revealing. Both boys remained on our minds much of the evening and into the next day.

On Saturday, around the same time of day, I was feeling antsy. We had just been for a walk about an hour earlier but I wanted to walk again. Frank gave me one of his tolerant smiles and almost indiscernible eye-rolls, and joined me. We stopped at some point along the path to observe a Grackle primp and preen after its bath in a nearby puddle.

Its colours were beautiful in the late day sunshine, and we stood there for about five minutes just watching. Frank motioned to look behind me and I turned to see two adult rabbits grazing in the grass nearby.

They seemed to appear out of nowhere. Surely they hadn't been there when we trudged over to this spot - they would have easily been visible. We watched as they nibbled on grass, and we continued our walk when they moved along.

"It almost seems like some kind of a message."

I had to agree with Frank's thinking. Both of our thoughts turned to L and his buddy, and the rabbit they pursued the evening before.

We continued walking, and as we approached the dock, we notice a man fishing. Anyone who fishes has an automatic spot reserved in Frank's heart, and he called out to him, asking if he'd had any success. As the man responded, we noticed that his younger fishing partner was L. In his hands was an empty plastic pop bottle with line wrapped around it, which served as his fishing rod. It was about as rudimentary as one could be. Frank's face lit up when he saw him.

"L, I'm glad to see you fishing!"

L's eyes were devoid of the anger that flashed from them the day before, and he immediately held his hand out to Frank, and apologized for his earlier behaviour. He looked each of us in the eye and said that he really wasn't going to kill the rabbit. Frank's smile reflected my own has he happily shook L's outstretched hand, and told him that he knew that in his heart. I told L that I was happy to see him and he asked me why. I explained that I hadn't felt good about our encounter the day before and he said that he hadn't either. I wanted to hug him at that moment, but I held my own hand out to him and he shook it warmly, apologizing once again.

Frank spoke to him briefly about fishing, and told him that he'd like to give him a copy of
his book, What Fish Don't Want You To Know. L seemed just a bit wary, declining to share his email address in order to make arrangements to meet up again, so Frank told him that he'd bring a copy down with him the following weekend so that he'd be able to give it to him next time we encounter him in the park. We parted with a smile this time.

We can't help but feel that there's a reason that L barged into our lives the way he did, and
time will tell just what it is. He was a good person having a bad day. A caring heart just showing off for his buddy. A kid who knew he'd done wrong, and took the responsibility to apologize like a man.

I suspect our paths will cross again before too long. There's a book waiting for him at my house for when they do.

Below are a few random photos, and a video of crazy Benny chasing bubbles in Frank's back yard.

Seen through the cottage window earlier this month, this curious chipmunk spied something of interest...

There's no doubt that this is an all-Canadian, beer-loving chipper.

A little green insect sitting on an oar. It had been flailing around in the water when we were out fishing. It dried off in the sun and wind, and then flew off.

Another tiny critter. This one's length was less than the width of my pinkie fingernail.

Just some fences which caught my eye. Taken from the car, on our way home from the cottage.

Crazy Benny. He has to kill every last bubble. He'd been at it for about ten minutes by now and was actually quite tired at this point. Enjoy.


Mental P Mama said...

What a great story. I think I've been in almost all those shoes before... and it's so true that the lessons aren't always readily apparent. I will say this though, Benny could teach me a thing or two about celebrating every little thing. Have a wonderful day.

Maggie May said...

I really enjoyed reading that. I started off by getting really annoyed with L & his mate for kicking the nest & threatening the rabbit.
Was really pleased that you both befriended L. Maybe he just needs some guidance along the way.

*All things work together for good.*

Tabor said...

I really liked the ending to this story. things like this that happen in my life don't always work out so wisely! You two have some good vibes that you send out.

photowannabe said...

You sure have a terrific way with words Hilary. That's quite a story and I'm glad it ended with good resolve. Once things are out of our mouths its difficult to fix them. I'm sure your encounter will not be the last for L. and you.
Love your crazy bubble catching doggie video too.

NJ said...

That is a great story! It shows me what a fantastic person Frank is with the manner he had with the second encounter with L. Lovely pictures as always.

ellen abbott said...

Oh man, I've been there (interrupting stupid behavior on the part of the young stranger) only I didn't have the good resolution.

Anonymous said...

Did Frank say "gotta let him rest?" lol, Benny looks far from tired! Gosh he jumps so high! Too funny! Oh boy, I'm glad the L. situation turned out well. I hate intoxicated proud idiots. I've encountered them too. I love the photo of the bunny munching! And the chipper loves that Ricker's huh? Great post!

ds said...

So glad the story of L and the bunny turned out so well; sometimes behavior just backs a person into a corner from which there is no escape (rather like the way he was cornering that poor rabbit)...And I love the video of Benny and the Bubbles. Makes my day!

Unknown said...

What a great post. I truly believe that people pass through our lives for a reason. Even just a few shared moments can sometimes changes our lives. Even a few words shared with a stranger standing in line at a grocery store can change our mood and impact our entire day... or week. I'm sure your interaction with L has already impacted his life.

Great photos of the bunny :)

Brian Miller said...

thanks for stopping by, what a great story you spin. i imagine there was purpose behind you running into each other again.

Louise said...

Oh,that Benny!

I'm glad the story turned out so well. I'm also glad you said something, even it if escalated past where you thought it should. So often young people just keep going if unchecked. They have values in them from somewhere, but to stupid things, and if no one ever checks them, they continue more and more.

Swetha said...

thats a lovely story!!! those pictures are very very sweet ! i loved all your pictures!

Andrea said...

Oh, that brought tears to my eyes. The story could have ended when you each parted ways, but it didn't. Each realized what could have been done differently and you got the chance to express it!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Thanks for being the voice of goodness and reason...and then of forgiveness and acceptance. Bravo!

SandyCarlson said...

I am so proud of you! I am glad you and your husband took on those young fools. And I hope they learned from it. Pride can become mob mentality and can be very dangerous. Thanks for cooling them off.

I am glad you took pictures. I think challenging them was right and good.

Wonderful post.

Salute said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a sweet comment. And do come again. Nice pictures, crazy about the rabbit. I don't see many rabbits these days.

Hilary said...

It is the truth, sometimes we just don't act well, and hind sight is 20/20.
Great story.
You and Frank are good people.

Frank Baron said...

That's pretty much as I recall it, Hil. Nicely told. :)

But you left out one important bit: L caught a sunfish on that pop-bottle rig of his. He's a natural.

Kerri Farley said...

Wow Hilary! What a wonderful post! I'm so glad it didn't end in conflict!

CiCi said...

This post tells alot about your character. You were listening to your inner feelings and you were not going to let the incident rule your opinion of a young man you just met. Good for you. Like you say, you never know the reason some people meet, even in ouchy situations.

david mcmahon said...

Some years ago, a group of pre-kindergarten children had a rather confronting experience with an adult who spoke extremely harshly to them.

Later I went up to the man, introduced myself and said that one of the kids was really upset by what had transpired - and you should have seen the change in the man.

Indrani said...

Great post Hilary!
So well handled the situation.
Again, too good shots.

Zuzana said...

What a touching story. You have a talent in taking pictures and writing too.
To have the correct reaction in any given situation is not always easy nor possible. Your reaction was appropriate in every way, even if it left you unsettled. No one likes to get angry towards others, but at times we are left with no choice. What you disliked was the actions of the young men, not the men themselves. Obviously they also realized their error, showing that this incident involved people with their heart in the right place.

The video with Benny is hilarious, he is so funny and so full of life. No one can be in a bad mood after watching it.:))
Love your pictures as always, they could make a wonderful picture book.;)

Shammickite said...

I think Benny can be counted on to provide a gold medal for Canada in the Bubble Biting Olympics. Nobody else can jump so high and with perfect bubble-bursting accuracy too.
Your story was well told, and I'm happy to read the good outcome. I wonder what the adult who was fishing with young L. thought of the whole encounter when he heard the story.

Blind Fly Theater said...

I loved this whole post... the story of the drunk L and how you handled it was interesting and familiar. My wife and I ran into a similar situation a few years ago. It rattled us a bit... I wish we would have had a camera... honestly, that seems to have been the best thing to do!
On a cheerier note, I absolutely love the photography, and the bird on the fence has to be my favorite of the bunch here.
Thanks for the great post...

Hilary said...

• Thanks so much, MPM. Benny sure is a day-brightener, and we do indeed learn a lot from him. Thanks for stopping by with your always-kind words. :)

• Thanks kindly, Maggie. I'm sure happy about how things turned out too. Your quote is apt. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Tabor. I hope that's true. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Sue. I hope it's not the last encounter. I'd really like to know more about him. I'm glad you enjoyed the video. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thank you, NJ. I totally agree with you about Frank. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Ellen, I'm sorry that your encounter didn't end well. But I suppose there are still lessons to be learned from that. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for the kind words, Rain. Frank did indeed say that Benny should rest. He'd been at it for at least ten minutes. (Personally, I think Frank needed the rest. He was probably huffing and puffing from all that bubble blowing) There's no shortage of drunken pride around. It's just unsettling when it finds you. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks so much, DS. I like your parallel between L and the rabbit, and how both may have felt cornered. And I'm glad you enjoyed the video of Benny. :)

• Thank you, Faye. I totally agree with what you said about the impact we all make in one another's lives. It's something to try and remember with each encounter. Thanks so much for the kind words. :)

• Thanks, Brian. I expect there is. And when we figure it out, I'll be sure to let you know. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Louise. I think you're absolutely right. It's easy, especially for kids/teens/young adults to allow a situation to escalate, and so difficult to quell their pride. It sure didn't seem like we'd done the right thing at the moment, but L was a thinker, and time allowed better reasoning to surface. We were so pleased about that. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Pranksy. Much appreciated. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Andrea. I'm glad this story touched you. That means a lot to me. Thanks for dropping by. :)

Hilary said...

• Thanks kindly, Angie. Very much appreciated. :)

• Thanks so much, Sandy. Youth and alcohol (particularly the latter), and the resulting behaviour can be difficult to diffuse. I'm not so sure we did the right thing ourselves that evening but I do know that L wasn't cruel as he appeared to be that night.. just bolstered with pride and drink. Thanks very much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Salute. We were seeing a fair number of them in late spring but fewer now. I'm glad that you stopped by. :)

• Thanks very much, Hilary. That means a lot to me. And oh so true about hindsight. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Frank. And you're right. I had forgotten completely about that part. He was unhooking and releasing it back into the pond as we first approached him. Of course that detail would stand out more to an angler. ;)

• Thanks, Kerri. I am too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you for your very kind words, Technobabe. They're very much appreciated. I'm glad you stopped by for a visit. :)

• Thanks for sharing, David. Sometimes it just takes a bit of time or reasoning to stop and think about how we've behaved. The trick is to remember for next time. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Indrani. Your kind words are very much appreciated. :)

• Thank you so much for your always warm comments, Protege. I hope you have some idea of how much that means to me. I felt pretty much how you described, and couldn't help but think that I'd like someone to have reacted appropriately if my own son ever got into a situation that irked them in a similar way. I would also love to believe that he'd make good on his behaviour the way that L did the next day, if he had that chance. I'm glad you enjoyed the video of Benny. He's an ongoing goof and laugh-evoker for us and we're glad to share it. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Shammie. I'm glad you got a kick out of that goofball, Benny. I wonder too about the adult who was with L. I don't know what their connection was but he stayed quiet and listened to our exchange. I imagine they chatted about it after we left. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Welcome, David and thank you. I can't honestly say that using my camera was the best thing to do as it did accelerate his agitation. But it also prompted his friend to feel nervous enough to urge him to leave. I'm just glad for having seen him the next day. Thanks for your kind words about the photos. Very much appreciated. :)

Leah J. Utas said...

That's a wonderful bunny story. I'm glad it worked out so well for all involved. Excellent pics, too.

Reb said...

Lovely bunnies, great story and even better ending to the story. Well done you two. Love the photos as always.

Suldog said...

On most of my visits here, your wonderful photos outshine the (still nice, but no match for the photos) words. This time, the story takes the award. Movingly told, and I love that you think (as I hope I would) that it all happened for a reason.

Maggie May said...

your photos are truly wonderful!

Cheffie-Mom said...

This is such a great post. You and Frank impacted L's life in more ways than you will ever know.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I were in a confrontation (I really don't like confrontations) with a young man in our old neighborhood. He was treating his girlfriend badly. We were worried for her safety and I was worried for our own safety as well because my dh spoke up.
It can be so hard to speak up and defend those that need defending, to stand for what is good and right. I'm glad that there was positive resolution with L the next day. This speaks volumes about the positive outlook that both you & Frank have, that you can look for good in others, despite bad first impressions.

Nancy said...

As always, you entertain, enlighten, and teach. What a powerful lesson for everyone involved.

You pictures are incredible. You must have some really great lenses, as well.

Can Benny be any more cute or entertaining?

Unknown said...

Congrats on POTD Contender... which is how I found you and very glad that I did.
What a wonderful way you have with words and photos, and I'm glad things turned out better in the evening.


Spiritual Journey said...

Thanks for standing up for the rabbit. I'm glad it turned out a happy ending with L.

Cheffie-Mom said...

I'm back. Congrats on the Post of the Day mention!

Susan English Mason said...

Alcohol definitely does change behavior. Benny is such a great dawg. Congrats on your post of the day nomination today.

Angela Ackerman said...

Great story, and amazing how a second encounter allowed everything to get straightened out--he got to see a different side of you, and you did with him. I bet he'll never forget what happened.

Dianne said...

I'm glad the second part of the story turned out the way it did. I was feeling anything but kind toward L

You and Frank are good souls

Benny!! everything he does is magic to me
I love when he searches the ground for the bubble he missed

Shrinky said...

Hilary, your photography, just like your insight, is stunning. A forgiving heart can mend a multitude of wrongs, can't it?

Andrea said...

What a wonderful story....I was captivated the whole way through (by the photos and the words). I'm so glad that things turned out well. :)

And have I mentioned that Benny is just the cutest!!!! :)

MadSnapper said...

I am totally Smitten (sorry, had to say that) with your baby rabbit and the boys story. A valuable lesson to be learned here, and I will remember this when I am aggravated with the children of our day, I hope to anyway.
I also loved the photos and Crazy Bennie and the Bubbles. Keep writing and blogging, your stories serve a purpose. Thank you.

Suldog said...

Happy Canada Day, Hilary!

The Solitary Writer said...

i am a first timer here...and shud say really impressed with the post of urs.....nice photographs

superb ...liked it

check my blog

me the solitary writer of the blog world

SandyCarlson said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Shammickite said...

Happy Canada Day, Hilary!

Tink said...

What an amazing (and surprisingly heartwarming) story. We all behave badly at times, whether for the right reasons or the wrong ones. It's not a tragedy if we can admit it though. I'm glad your story had a happy ending.

Hilary said...

* Thank you, Leah. I'm glad it worked out too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very much for the kind words, Reb. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

* Thanks kindly, Suldog. I have little doubt that the reason will unfold eventually. Thanks for stopping by with your always kind words. :)

* Thank you, Maggie. Much appreciated. :)

* Thanks, Cheffie. And he, ours. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks very much for the kind words, KC. I know it's difficult to find that balance between knowing when to speak up and when to shut up. Particularly in the case you mentioned. We never know for sure if we're making things better or worse. I hope it was the former. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. :)

* Thanks very much, L of L. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. If Benny could be more entertaining, we'd have to sell tickets. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Welcome, Jane, and thanks very much for your kind words. I'm glad you found me too and hope you'll return soon. :)

* Thanks kindly, SJ. I'm glad it did too. Thanks for dropping by. :)

* Thanks, Cheffie. :)

* Thank you, Pouty. No doubt that alcohol can get in the way of a lot of things. Thanks very much for your always-supportive comments. :)

* Thanks very much for your thoughtful comments, Angela. I suspect we won't be forgetting those encounters either. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks, Dianne. Your comments are always so kind. You should see Benny looking for snowballs which land in a few inches of the fluffy stuff. He can spend over an hour searching for the the one he didn't catch - which is most of them. Luckily he only keeps searching for the last one. Thanks for your visit. :)

* Thanks so much for your very kind words, Shrinky. It was easy to forgive L - we knew he was sincere. Thanks very much for stopping by with your always warm comments. :)

* Thanks very much, Andrea. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Benny seems to have captured a lot of blogland hearts. I'm glad that yours is one of them. :)

* Thank you so much, Sandra. I'm glad you enjoyed the tale and photos. Your kind words mean a lot to me. And yes, Benny is quite the loon. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks eh, Suldog! :)

* Thanks very much, Solitary Writer. I'm glad you liked the post. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* And you too, Sandy. :)

* Thank you, Shammie.. and the same to you. I hope you're having a good one, eh? :)

* Thanks so much, Tink. I'm glad the story touched you. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

Daryl said...

I do not know how I missed this, but its a fabulous post, I am glad you met L again, I think you are right, there's is some meaning involved here and time will tell what it is...

abb said...

What wonderful words. Enjoyed every last one of them.

And I'm off to buy Frank's book. Just read his description of catching his first trout. Originally being from the great state of Missouri, i cut my teeth freshwater fishing.

UmmFarouq said...

Loved the bunny photos and story. The one featuring the dandelion reminds me of the cover of my old "Watership Down" book.


Pat - Arkansas said...

A heart-warming story (in the end). So glad things turned out well, for "L", you and Frank and the bunny. I, too, believe that all this was for a reason, not just coincidental.

Bennie is a hoot! What pure joy he must bring into your lives.

Hilary said...

• Thanks kindly, Daryl. I hope you're right. We saw a rabbit in just about the same spot again last night and wondered if we might see L, but we've not seen him since that second night. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• TSannie, thank you so much for your kind comment. I don't know how I missed answering this (and these other three comments). Thanks very much for buying Frank's book. I guarantee that you'll learn a lot and laugh a lot. Feel free to ask him for a signed bookplate to add to it. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks Ummm Farouq. I too thought about Watership Down with these rabbit photos. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Pat. I'm glad you agree. I'll be sure to let you know if and when it all becomes apparent. You're so right about Benny. He's a constant joy (and frustration). Thanks for the visit. :)