In between working on large series pieces, I sneak in time to practice drawing subject matter I haven’t tackled before — like drawing animal fur. Given we know the nature of fox and rabbits, the likelihood of these two cuddling up together is straight out of a fairy tale. Still, we hear these amazing real-life stories of odd animal friendships, so it could happen.
This time of year (post-Thanksgiving to New Year’s), I think about what sort of holiday greeting card I might send out to friends and family. I design my own (sorry Hallmark) and as a rule stay clear of the religious and cliche themes which always makes holiday card design a challenge. My significant other suggested I use this drawing for this year’s card even though I said: “No, honey, those aren’t holly leaves, they’re oak leaves.”
So I ran with his suggestion. While I didn’t think I needed to explain what the leaves in the drawing were, (it’s open for interpretation), I did feel the need to create a little back story for “Bunny and Fox.” It began like this. Recently I had been visiting a friend and colleague. We’ve been able to avoid discussing the horrible chaos our country endures day by day with its leadership “giving license” to people to behave badly and outwardly demonstrate hate without shame. By this time, however, we were both in despair, (no shit), despite the recent mid-term elections and had to openly vent our frustration with insane policy, politics, and the never-ending hypocrisy.
At the end of our conversation, I said the only remedy at hand is to perform little acts of kindness when and where ever possible. Kindness is a powerful antidote to mean-spiritedness, it makes people feel seen and valued, and it’s contagious. Pollyanna sentiment perhaps, but it could work.
That became the premise behind “The Tale of Bunny and Fox.” Call it my Beatrix Potter moment.
We don’t know how these two unlikely companions came together. Perhaps Fox was abandoned or lost his way. Now he was alone and missing the play and romp of his littermates. As for Bunny, any number of things could have happened for as we all know rabbits lead a somewhat precarious life.
But what we do know is that both Bunny and Fox had an empty spot in their hearts they yearned to fill. After a sudden and surprise introduction, Bunny and Fox didn’t have the preconceived notions on how the other would or should be as they had never been taught.
Instead, Fox learned to see through Bunny’s eyes and Bunny learned to see through Fox’s. They began to understand how they each perceived the world and in turn deepened their perspective of the world.
We don’t know what will happen as Bunny and Fox grow older. For now, all Bunny knows is he always has a big red blanket to protect him and Fox knows he will always be comforted by the sound of Bunny’s little heart gently beating against his own.
When the day comes that something stirs deep inside, Bunny and Fox will know it’s time to part and have families of their own. And this is how it should be even though they had never been taught. They will go their own way, not with sadness as Bunny and Fox have seen life bring change. Yet they know one thing will never change. The gift of kindness Bunny and Fox have given each other will remain constant all the remains of their days.