When my great aunt Mary died, we discovered a handwritten story among her things. It told of amazing happenings, all because she ended up going down a rabbit hole. I laughed secretly because I knew no person could fit down one. Then I remembered the book “Alice in Wonderland”. I quietly did some family research and discovered my great aunt was born Edith Mary Liddle a family who were friends of the author.
If the book and handwritten accounts were accurate, the world down a rabbit hole changes, maybe with time, and maybe with the person. I assumed the difference was in each person’s imagination.
Now it is many years later, and this last summer I was invited to spend a few weeks with my granddaughter and her family in the country. I am no longer young and sometimes a bit frail, so the offer of a quiet place to sit under a tree and watch nature was most pleasing.
On my first day there I was brought breakfast in bed, and only rose rather late. If I take my time I do not need help to wash and dress. My granddaughter was busy in the kitchen when I finally emerged. I sat and chatted to her, being allowed to shell the peas for supper made me feel useful. When she wanted to go to the village for some shopping I declined her offer to accompany her. I walk slowly and would make her trip take too long.
She put out a wicker chair with some cushions for me, under the beautiful tree in the garden. I waved goodbye as she drove off, promising to tell her daughter to wait for lunch when she came back from playing somewhere beyond the garden.
I must have nodded off, I find I do that quite often these days. I woke, who knows how long I had been dozing there with the birdsong and insect sounds as my lullaby. There was my great-granddaughter, sitting against the tree, her face and clothes a little smudged with dirt, as all children who play outdoors seem to manage.
She seemed startled to see me there, then smiled shyly. I asked if she had been playing in the fields beyond. She nodded.
I reminded her that her mother would soon be back from shopping and expected her in for lunch. She stood up, brushing down her jeans with her hands. A few red rose petals dropped to the ground. Odd as there were no roses in this part of the garden. She said “well then grammie, we should go in and get ready for lunch.”
She came and offered me her hand as an aid to getting out of my lovely comfortable chair. Stiff with age, it is no longer something I do gracefully. As we turned to walk towards the house, a movement caught my eye. A white rabbit hopped towards the shrubbery.
I said “Alice, is that your pet bunny there?” knowing that the wild rabbits in the area are a pretty brown like those in Beatrix Potter.
Alice smiled, a dreamy little smile. “well, more of a friend than a pet” she said.