There’s something so welcoming about sitting on your porch reading a book while your neighbors mow the lawn, or weed the flowerbeds, or clean the garage. It’s a friendly kind of neighborhood, one that’s comforting in its quiet diligence.
Yesterday evening, I sat on the front steps and read until the mosquitoes started to show an interest in me. Chad was also getting close to the house with the lawnmower by then, which meant that if I didn’t move I’d soon get sprayed with grass clippings. So I flagged him down, told him I was going inside, and retreated to the climate-controlled, mosquito-free sanctuary of our den.
I thought Chad was only planning to mow the front yard and would be following me inside soon, but page after page went by in my book and I still heard the mower going. I thought maybe one of our other neighbors had taken a cue from Chad and gone out to mow his own yard. Our neighborhood is like that. One person heads outside and starts working on his house or cooking on the grill, and pretty soon folks from half the houses on the street are outside doing something, smiling and waving and calling out hellos when they see each other.
I hadn’t noticed that I could no longer hear the lawnmower until I looked up to see Chad standing on the stairs. “There’s something you need to see,” he said.
I tucked a note card in my book to mark my place and followed Chad upstairs, stopping only long enough to slip on shoes as he led me out the side door to the carport. Only a third of the back yard had been mowed, but the mower was nowhere to be seen. Chad led me to the line where the grass jumped from short to tall and showed me the reason he’d decided not to mow anymore that day.
The bunny’s burrow was a few feet away, at the edge of the sunken circle where we know previous owners had an above-ground pool. The opening was tiny, no bigger than a ping-pong ball, with bits of gray fluff tucked at the edges. If the bunny hadn’t darted out as Chad came near with the mower, he would never have seen it. If Chad hadn’t pointed the burrow out to me, I would never have known it was there. But now that we do, we’ll hold off on mowing the back yard for the next week or two, or at least avoid the area around the burrow. Our back yard doesn’t grow nearly as tall or fast as our front yard, and even if it gets high the only ones who’ll notice are us. A small price to pay, in my mind, to give a little guy like this the time he needs to move on, or at least learn to stay far underground when the mower comes near.