A red floribunda rose grows in my back yard. Underneath its intertwined branches my resident bunny has dug a hole and built a nest. And on top of the nest, she has cleared a resting pace of safety from hawks and predators in the damp earth beneath the bush.
I watch her there, all stretched out taking bunny naps on summer afternoons. The reputation of her inn has grown, though, and now two quail and a brown thrasher also take respite from the heat under the same bush.
It gets a bit crowded at times, and the bunny shows her displeasure by landing a few well placed kicks. The birds mumble a bit, rearrange ruffled feathers, and all is quiet again. But nobody leaves. And everyone stays cool and safe in the heat of the day.
I saw a documentary video recently called Promises, about seven children living in the war zone of the Israeli/Palestinian West Bank. One was an orthodox Jew whose parents had migrated from America, speaking perfect English. Three were sons and daughters of Israeli immigrants speaking Hebrew. Three others lived in the settlement camps of Palestine, speaking only Palestinian.
A film-maker who spoke all three languages followed the children for several years, telling each about the other. When interviewed separately all seven were highly religious, highly reactionary about the war zone they lived in. But when the children saw pictures of each other, the became interested the others’ lives.
And so a meeting was arranged. For a day, these children who did not speak each other’s language, who were raised to hate each other, played soccer, wrestled, ate together, laughed together. They cried when they had to part.
Through translators at the end of the day, they were asked about the conflict. One child said, “We can live together. We can be friends. There is room for us all.” And the others nodded in agreement.
It seems to me that our world can learn a lot from bunnies and birds and children.