This morning as we piled the usual amorphous mass of strollers, dogs, kids, and assorted urban survival equipment into our Land Rover in preparation for a trip to the Air Show, my wife suddenly let out a string of Oh-my-Gods, Oh-nos and Poor-things.  Her voiced clearly indicating (as only hers can) that she was grief-stricken and grossed-out at the same time. Telltale signs all of these, that she had spotted a road-killed furry creature.

I walked around to her side of the car and sure enough, found a dead bunny, not 10 yards from our doorstep.  Either the violence of the impact, or the deadly tire's path had been such that the poor little guy's intestine had been ejected out the back end and lay in a separate brownish, sticky-looking lump a full half-foot away from it's former employer.  (I would not have believed that possible either)

Amazingly, but for a smallish tear in its abdomen and a slightly misplaced eyeball, the bunny itself was twisted, but whole.  Its former bouncier self very much still in evidence.  As my wife's voice had promised, it was both revolting and sad.  I thought it over for about 20 seconds then I went and grabbed my son (who playing with my iPhone awaited loading), and brought him to the scene. 

I first told him "look... its a dead bunny."  To the best of my knowledge, this was his first look at death. At least this was his first look in a form he might, if not comprehend, maybe begin to grasp... appreciate.  The ants with which his mother is engaged in a daily and never ending war of attrition -- as they die by the hundreds and are swept away like dust -- no doubt fail to register as proper living creatures, like the dogs, or us.

I explained to my son, as best I could, that here was a terrible thing.  Here was death.  And it had come predictably, to the reckless.  In this case, a bunny who had not minded the dangers of the street and had been hit by a car... and that this very danger was precisely what Mama and Papa were always harping about, going on and on about holding hands near streets and on parking lots.

I heard my wife begin to protest and I urgently waived her quiet while my almost 2 year old frowned down at the little mangled thing and absorbed perhaps his first ever inkling of what it is that we mean by that popular but to a toddler (as far as I can tell) utterly unintelligible word: danger...

And maybe he even learned a bit of something more important than that.

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