As Anne and I step out the door of our Florida villa, I spot a wild rabbit half hidden under a hibiscus bush next to our driveway. The sight conjures up a déjà vu moment for me that I can trace back to my childhood years in New York. I grew up on Long Island in an area that was once a potato farm cultivated into a suburban landscape with hundreds of houses on quarter acre plots. It was the 1950’s and it was where World War II veterans, like my dad, began raising their families.
Wild rabbits survived the conversion of what was a prairie into farmlands and remained resilient during the suburban sprawl. I frequently saw rabbits under the bushes planted around the foundation of the cape cod home we lived in. Hiding around the corner of the house with a 10 foot string attached to a stick that held up one side of a wooden milk carton, I waited for what seemed hours for a rabbit to come to the carrot I left to lure it under the crate. My plan was to pull the stick and capture the rabbit. As a five year old, I really didn’t think it through. Not really sure what I would have done with it. I never did catch one.
So here, a thousand miles from Long Island, in a 55+ community where the kids of World War II veterans are retiring, built on agricultural land sold for development and for what seems like a lifetime ago, I relive that moment I saw my first rabbit as a 5 year old kid. And it is just as exciting now as it was then.