Essays from
Giving Ground


When I get home from the greenhouse in town, the wild rabbits crowd around the open car door and deluge me with questions. "So, did you bring home the pansies?" "How high are the cabbages?" "Are the broccoli transplants mature enough to put into the garden yet?" "Do you think the broccoli will bolt if this heat keeps up?"

"Of course the broccoli won't bolt," I shoot back over my shoulder as they follow me to the house like a throng of reporters dogging the heels of the president. "You'll eat it all the evening I plant it!"

I remind them how foolish I'd be this year to bring home any plants that weren't poisonous. They regard me with disdain. I remind them that the only reason we have the masses of daffodils and lily-of-the-valley is because those plants are toxic to wildlife. They don't deny it. They are silent only because French sorrel and crocus flowers are trailing out the sides of their mouths.

Our lawn looks like the head of a newly inducted Marine. When we cut down aspens growing too close to an outbuilding, the top branches are bleached white overnight by this toothy horde.

Rabbits loaf on the well-cap, scratching their bug bites. They drape themselves unabashedly over the outdoor lounge chairs, some perusing the Sunday supplement with their reading glasses on, some nibbling off a snack tray.

They consider our every coming and going, marking down on scratch pads the number of forays we make to the tool shed, herb gardens, vegetable garden.

Their fields of inquiry are endless, their ruminations deliberate and pithy. They join us on every outdoor project, offering comments and willingly holding tape measure, hammer, tar bucket.

I look around at this furry mobilization, all in little khaki camouflage waistcoats and bloomers, and the thought occurs to me that instead of "moles," the government may be employing rabbits now.

Copyright 2011 by Pam Thompson

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Giving Ground
Superior National Forest
1223 Little Creek Road
Brimson, MN 55602