|Lathrop State Park, CO|
When I got back to the house, I added the bug spray to their collection on the porch (they have some killer mosquitoes up that-a-way), and went to throw out the rest. I easily threw out the lighter, but stopped when I got to the rabbit.
I couldn't just throw it in the trash, it had been loved. It had just one ear, and someone had picked off much of the fur on the lower half of its body. It hadn't been outside long; there was no rain or animal damage to the poor bedraggled thing. Unable to convince me to callously pitch it, I somewhat sheepishly tucked into one of the cabinets in the camper. I didn't know what I was going to do with it - I certainly didn't want to add a battered stuffed animal to my life - so I carried it with me for much of the trip. I opened its cabinet a lot; several times I went to throw it away, and just couldn't. Finally, I decided I would burn it at the next quiet campsite I stayed at. I've always loved the story of the Velveteen Rabbit - I thought I could send the spirit of this little guy to join his.
When I got to Lathrop State Park in Walsenburg, CO, I found the perfect site. Quiet; no one to think I was nuts as I cremated some poor defenseless stuffed animal. Plenty of small sticks to create a funeral pyre. Still feeling a little foolish, I lit the fire, put the rabbit on top, and watched it burn to ashes.
Feeling sad, I decided to talk a walk about the park. As I came around the corner of the restroom building, I saw a rabbit. The only one I saw on the the entire trip. He stopped, looked back at me, stretched just a bit, then leisurely made his way into the bushes.
Maybe, just maybe, the little fellow I found became Real. I like to think so.