Here’s to All Things Cute

I apologize to the Lop-Eared Lionhead Bunny. First time I saw a picture of him, I burst out laughing.

Then I just wanted to take him home. This is one of the darn cutest animals I’ve ever seen. I had to look him up since I’d never heard of a Lop-Eared Lionhead Bunny, rather, rabbit, and it turns out Lionhead Rabbits are a relatively new breed. Understandably, given the natural draw to all things precociously cute, they’re very popular.

What is it about this little guy that just makes me want to hold him forever and ever? It was the same thing the first time I saw my cat Walter. He was the cutest ball of fluff ever to walk this earth. I wasn’t able to take him home at that time; he was my neighbors’ cat until they abandoned him. Then I couldn’t stand it anymore. Combine cute with cold and hungry and you’ve got a home.

Well, when I have one to offer.

I think it’s a redeeming quality in so many of us that we want to care for others, especially the forlorn. There are those who are drawn to homelier helpless animals because they have the added disadvantage of possible rejection for their looks. They actually look cute in their own sad way.

We don’t think of it as admirable, perhaps, because it’s natural. Turns out it’s more natural than some of us might realize: we’re what some call “hard-wired” to protect cute things, because they’re generally, by definition, young (did you know baby animals have proportionally bigger eyes?) and unable to care for themselves, and wouldn’t survive without us.

It’s understandable we’d want human babies to survive, or as a species we’d soon die out. But why would we care about bunnies?

elephant-55255_640Okay, pet owners could list dozens of reasons why, but the reality is, part of their survival depends on being…cute. Same for kittens and puppies and little bear cubs. Elephants, with their big ol’ ears and sweet soulful eyes, are endearing at any age, so we get angry when we hear they’re killed for their ivory. As we should.

I love that nature protects its own.*  Whether you believe its by design or evolution (or a complex combination of both), you have to appreciate such a vast system that cares for and perpetuates itself.

And creates new species, perhaps with a little assistance from mankind, like Lop-Eared Lionhead Bunnies.


*Of course we all need to do whatever we can to protect animals.


Photo Credit: (lop-eared lionhead bunny) © Viorel Sima — Bigstock

all together

Back in my twenties, I was living in Minneapolis, where, as you may have heard, it snows a lot in the winter.

If you haven’t lived in an area that gets a lot of snow, you may not be aware of one annoying aspect of it: shoveling out your car.

I was sharing an apartment with the best roommate I ever had, Joanne, and even though it was a two-bedroom, we had one garage space for the unit. That meant we alternated who got covered parking week by week, and if it snowed the week you had custody, it was a mixed blessing. You didn’t have to brush and scrape the snow and ice off your car, but you did shovel after snowfall.

Shoveling isn’t easy. It takes longer than you think it should, and snow is heavy. So when I headed out one morning after a six-inch snowfall the night before (which, with drifts, is a lot of shoveling), knowing what lay ahead of me, I wasn’t happy. In addition to facing the shoveling itself, I was dressed for work, which at that time meant a skirt, and I knew snow would end up sliding down my boots and getting my feet wet and cold.

parent child handsI approached the garage stall, and was stunned to see someone had already done the job for me. But who?

Down the hall from our apartment lived a man, probably in his 50s, who worked for the Minnesota Vikings (NFL) team in some capacity. He had players over all the time, and I’m guessing he may have played at one time himself. Maybe he even was well-known, I have no idea. He was a nice guy, not in a weird, predatory way toward us young women, just genuinely kind.

He was walking out to his garage stall while I was standing there, staring at the cleared space in front of me. I knew he must have been the one to perform this kind deed.

“Did you…?” I asked him, pointing at my garage.

“Yes,” he replied with a smile.

“I can’t thank you enough. Really,” I said. “I mean, thank you.”

“We’re all in this together,” he laughed, and was on his way.

That has stayed with me. We’re all in this together. I try to implement that philosophy into my everyday interactions with others, even quoting him at times, which is often greeted with a little confusion on the part of others. Perhaps it sounds conspiratorial. It’s not. It’s a bond, an honorable one. We lend a helping hand, especially when doing so costs us less than its value to the other.

We’re all in this together.

 

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Image Credits: (hand in hand) © mihaela19750405 — Fotolia; (bambinas felici in fila) © UBE — Fotolia (hands around the world) © yurolaitsalbert – Fotolia

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