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Ramble with Storm: Rabbits & The Bear

Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, the family’s mixed Lab.

A rabbit hopped around, rather casually I thought, in a yard across the alley from the bus barn as we set out in total darkness this morning.

I did not expect to see much in wildlife because of the darkness, but this rabbit had such a cavalier attitude that I think it insulted Storm’s hunting instincts and he tried to give chase.

Rabbits are much in my mind.

For the past week, I have been wrapped up in covering and writing about the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the greatest of Chicago’s sporting traditions.

Rabbits have an entirely different meaning in marathons.

Rabbits are the marathon runners hired to set a certain pace through roughly half the race.

But occasionally the rabbit pulls one out of the hat, so to speak.And wins it all.

As Kenyan Ben Kimondiu did in 2001 in Chicago.

To top it off, our kids discovered yesterday that the two young rabbits they thought were girls are actually boys and were doing reproducing things, so we had to separate them out.

Much to our youngest boy’s delight. Now he has two rabbits in his room until I can build a hutch after I am finished being wrapped up in the marathon work.

I am surprised, now that I think about, how much rabbits run through my history.

They were the first thing I hunted, first game I bagged, as a kid. The one piece of hunting I am probably best at to this day.

And I raised rabbits (New Zealand whites) commercially as a teenager. I had quite a production, something like a dozen breeding does in a couple rows of wire cages with an elaborate watering system in a farmer’s shed.

And in the other part of my life, my reading and writing side, I would put John Updike’s novel, Rabbit, Run up there for consideration as The Great American Novel.

A week ago I rambled around with John Vukmirovich on Chicago’s Southeast Side. And I happened to mention that early on in my life, i tried to read William Faulkner’s The Bear every year.

For me, The Bear, even though it is a novella, is The Great American Novel. Vukmirovich said he used to do something similar with Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

I am more a Faulkner guy than a Hemingway man. Though Hemingway’s early Nick Adams stories really touched me, far more than his later stuff.

In the darkness, Storm found plenty of stuff to sniff on the far edge of the extended ramble, but I did not hear anything run off.

Eleven hedge apples were down on the east side of the south old clay pit, so I picked up one to take home to wife, to bestow its magical powers on our home.

Faint light of the predawn came as we reentered the town. A few squirrels, not yet running around on the ground, rustled in the tree leaves.