By Charles Towne
It was the day before thanksgiving, 1948. I was 14 years old. We had an early Illinois snow that year and the ground was covered with a fluffy white mantle.
In the moonlight, the snow enshrouded woodland glowed in a mysterious, almost magical half–light. My steps were muffled by the soft snow as I moved forward. It was one of those special, otherworldly, northern winter nights when I ordinarily wouldn’t expect to be surprised because the very act of being there was a miracle. How could there possibly be more? And yet, well, its times like that when the unexpected happens, when all nature holds her breath, waiting, but waiting for what?
A rabbit, a Molly cottontail, sat there on her powder–puff tail as she silently surveyed the small clearing. A second rabbit joined the first, and then, two more. Quite suddenly one of the rabbits dashed across the clearing and stopped on the far side. Another rabbit ventured out into the clearing, stomped its hind feet rapidly only to dash away again, leaving behind that barely audible whisper of sound, ‘Thump, Thump, Thump. Soon that tiny, magical, moon-bright glade was full of rabbits, perhaps as many as a dozen, all racing into the clearing, stomping their strange but wonderful dance, dashing here and there, in a whirlwind of small furry bodies. I watched as at times two rabbits would approach each other and briefly touch noses in greeting, or so it seemed, and then they would be off again about their wild capricious dance. The soft snow was soon packed down as those many, little fairy, furry feet thumped and then thump, thumped again, until magically; all the rabbits were dancing their mysterious arabesque. Oh God, how I wanted to join them, to dance with them. Can what I saw those many years ago be anything less than that; a wild, spontaneous dance? The rabbits danced with boundless enthusiasm and joy that night. What might have possessed them? I cannot explain it. I would like to see it again, wouldn’t you?
Like so many rabbits dancing in the light of a winter moon, perhaps God is calling you and I to dance the dance of life with joy and enthusiastic thanksgiving. While the rabbits danced individually, their joy seemed to only reach its zenith when they danced as a wild community. We too are called to dance individually as well as together. When was the last time you danced like that?
Charles Towne is a longtime resident of Apopka, member of Inspire Church and a published author.