Photo by Sam on Unsplash


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 halflight.  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 miracleHow could there possibly be more?  And yet, well, it’s times like that when the unexpected happens, when all nature holds her breath, waiting… but waiting for what?


Suddenly, unexpectedly I saw something move.rabbits_dance
A rabbit, a Molly Cottontail, sat there on her powderpuff 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, but I sure would like to see it again.
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 first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you my dear friend! May you find joy in dancing:) Love this…it creates a delightful visual imagery to begin our day of gratitude. Blessings….

  2. NH, may our friend God bless us all! As I look back and see in the eye of memory all of nature dancing in peace and love. May you and yours be in perfect conformity and joy this holiday season. Chaz

  3. What a happy thought! It is so appropriate at this time, especially when everyone is saying….
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    I know we can all find something to be thankful for, to be jouyous about and, at least in our hearts, do a happy dance!! Thanks, Chuck, for a nice story that brought a smile to my face.
    God bless you!!

    • Kangaroos? Did you say kangaroos? Not really, please say you didn’t say kangaroos! Oh well, whatever they are, they are! You take care sir Ed. Bless you and yours always, Chaz

  4. Hey CSG, I think that one of the happiest, most joyous things I have ever seen was the dance of the rabbits! I love hiking in a remote forest and all of a sudden break out into a wild dance! Come to think of it perhaps that is why people avoid me in the woods? Bless you dear friend, Chaz

  5. Very cute way to remind us to be thankful for what we have despite the “2020 jinx” which seems to invade most every aspect of normal life. Not one of us are guaranteed time beyond the present and we must put our faith in God for guidance to protect ourselves and others during the pandemic. Let us not allow the 2020 Grinch to steal our upcoming celebration of the birth of Christ. Have faith and common sense and get on with the dancing…

    • Mike Mike, my friend, no Grinch here! To dance and to live our lives like there is no tomorrow is the christians purpose, and therein is true joy and peace! God bless you all, Chuckles

  6. Dear Judith, we all nave joyful memories, and that is the truth, It is our choice! Some want to dwell in the negative, some want to conjure dark and despairing stuff that causes nothing but pain and sadness, but we choose life and joy. Let it always be so. Bless you and yours, Charles

  7. Too bad there isn’t a video of what you saw that night! Maybe they were Jack Rabbits trying to out due each other. Love the story. Reminds me that I never learned to dance, and wished I had! Maybe in the next life,I will have a chance to dance with Betty. I am glad that dreams are free. I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas.

  8. Don, To dance like there is no tomorrow, to dance in celebration with the angels, to dance as only those that have really loved as you and Betty loved, what a joy! You are a special friend pal. Bless you and yours, Chaz

  9. You a professed naturalist and you have never heard of the elusive Illinois Kangaroo? Their coats turn white in winter to aid in hunting their prey who they speedily dispatch by stomping them to unconsciousness and then eating the ears of their victims so forever afterwards those poor critters cannot hear an approaching predator and so they do not last long! This is just another example of the danger faced daily by those living in the wild, untamed, uncivilized, territory that is much of Illinois! You, being just a child at the time, can be excused for mistaking these apex preditors as cute bunny rabbits! Indeed the good Lord had His angels watching over you that day!

  10. Ahh Richard, what You refer to is the screaming Jack-a- lope, They not only eat the ears of their pray, a signature and most sadistic move on there part, they have adapted the cruel behavior of attacking motorcycles and eating the tires out from under them at high speed, thus waging a cruel war on innocent biker gangs. Sad, very sad. Peace to you my friend, Chaz

  11. Keeping in mind that even though the Illinois kangaroo is a separate genus and not a kangaroo at all and more related to the fluffy horned wifflenoose only to be found in the mountains of North South Illinois. There are mountains in this region that have never been climbed in this due to the terrorizing tactics of the screaming Jackalope. Just how terrorizing are they? You might ask. They are terrorizing! Chaz


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