I'm sorry to report the baby rabbits didn't make it. When I peeked in on them last night, all were dead but one, probably frozen. And this morning they were all dead, and one partially eaten - raccoon maybe? - and I was left with the sad task of cleaning up. There are a lot of nasty things we're called to do as mothers, from wiping noses to catching vomit, but the removal of small dead animals is particularly unpleasant. And I've had to do it with unfortunate frequency in my career.
I think maybe it's such a troubling thing to do because mothers, by definition, are all about life and giving life. We nurture, we fix, we comfort, we feed, we rescue. And when we're left helpless, unable to fix the tiny thing that is just too small to rescue, it goes against our natures. All I've wanted to do today is curl up on the couch and hug my puppy. But life has to grind on, and so instead I spent today teaching, talking, listening, setting the table, going on with regular things. I know the mother rabbit will no doubt have another litter within weeks. I know there will likely be no shortage of rabbits to chase out of the garden this summer. I know this is how life - and death - have happened since the beginning of the world. But I am still heartsick.