The Year of the Rabbit began on Sunday, but I had been looking forward to it for a long time. How could I not? A whole year, dedicated to my favourite animal. For me, this was the Year of Harvey, the furry love of my life. Harvey, my first waking thought and my happiest of dreams. The animal whose pleasure and comfort came above all else. Who loved me and slept with me and danced for his breakfast, and climbed impossible things and never stopped exploring. He was handsome and quick and clever. Of course there is a year just for him.
On Sunday, I was going to write a New Year’s entry on Harvey. I couldn’t do it. Instead, I sat up half the night and cried because he wasn’t with me, and I’ll never see him again, or caress his fur, or hear his crunchy greeting.
The snowdrops on our lawn started opening on Sunday. Today I took a trowel and transplanted some around the edge of Harvey’s grave. In the centre, I planted the bulbs of some miniature daffodils that last Spring he had spent much time examining. I associate him with daffs because of an Easter photoshoot I did with him. His favourite flower, though, was clover.
As I dug and planted and smoothed out the lumps and clods, I felt as though he was hopping around me in his supervisory way, inspecting everything before and after I planted, as he was wont to do. I envisioned him prinking his ears in pleasure the way he did whenever I added an improvement to one of his hang-outs. He was a very appreciative rabbit. I had expected to grow too upset to finish this job in one sitting, but I found his imaginary presence comforting. And, indeed, he had been named after an imaginary friend.
This year is still about you, sweet rabbit. I’ll plant you clovers in the summer.