Once upon a time, when I first moved to San Francisco, I crashed for awhile with a couple who were aspiring urban farmers. People did that sort of thing in the '70s; maybe young people do that now? I don't know.
Anyway, a fellow in this couple decided that he should raise rabbits in their little urban garden. So he got a pair. One of them quickly succumbed, I don't remember how. The surviving, now bereft and solitary, bunny quickly became a house pet; these urban farmers didn't have the stomach for killing their dinner.
The rabbit was set loose on a fenced rooftop. It burned its feet on the roofing tar as more thoughtful pet owners might have anticipated. And so the rabbit needed medical care. Nowadays I suspect the medical needs of pet rabbits may be more commonly cared for, but back then, it was hard to find a veterinarian who would take on the case. I remember spending a long afternoon listening to my host ask every veterinarian listed in the phone book: "Do you see rabbits?"
The phrase became something of a mantra in our set. When life seemed most absurd, all any of us had to do to evoke gales of laughter was to ask: "Do you see rabbits?"
As I wander the streets of the city assembling images for my photoblog, 596 Precincts -- Walking San Francisco, I do indeed see rabbits. Here are a few.
The Beatrix Potter influence is obvious here. Are children still raised on Beatrix Potter?
I wouldn't think of an upright bunny as the most likely of doorstep guards, but what do I know?
I can't remember whether this one showed up in the immediate aftermath of Easter, but that seems likely.
How can I keep from smiling at the antic haste of this one?
The bunny in my story was carefully nursed by its custodians. Its burned paws had to be painted with antiseptic, a treatment to which it responded by clawing and screaming. I have to admit that I felt some satisfaction one day when the frantic rabbit bit the rabbit keeper on his nose. It was finally taken to the country and seen to bound away. I imagine it made a good dinner for some creature less sentimental than its human tormentors.