Grandpa motioned for Selah to step back from the edge of the woods with him. â€śSkunk brought me baby rabbits this morning. She could only carry one at a time, so she ended up dribbling a trail of bunnies down the hill. She must have thought they were puppies, and she should mother them. I followed her and her bunny trail all the way up the hill. She was happy to show me right where it was, so I returned them to the nest.â€ť
â€śWhat about their mother?â€ť Selah tugged on his shirt.
â€śThe doe will move them to a new nest when she finds they smell a little funny.â€ť
â€śHow many are there?â€ť
â€śI found four. Letâ€™s watch for more as we go back to the house.â€ť Grandpa put his arm across her shoulder and walked her away from the nesting area.
Skunk trotted before them weaving back and forth across the trail, down the hill. She stopped in midstride, picked up another baby bunny, and marched home with it.
â€śSkunk,â€ť Grandpa scolded.
With her head lowered, she marched on with a purpose. â€śSkunk!â€ť He slapped his camo cap on his knee. â€śSkunk is as
determined to have her own way as you are, Selah.â€ť
Skunk paused and turned to look at him. He knelt down.
Her dark eyes watched him for a moment before she moved sluggishly to him.
Cupping his hands underneath her mouth, he told her to â€śgiveâ€ť. In slow motion, Skunk released the bunny into his waiting hands.
â€śI understand, Skunk. Us girls need to stick together.â€ť Selah rubbed the dogâ€™s head. â€śAhh... may I hold the baby, Grandpa?â€ť
â€śSure.â€ť He slipped it into her hands. â€śGot it?â€ť
â€śOooow, its eyes arenâ€™t even open yet.â€ť She stroked its fur with one finger. â€śSoft as silk. Everything about the bunny is adorable. Look at its teeny, tiny nose. I thought its tail would be fluffy, but itâ€™s bald.â€ť Selah tilted her head to the side and flashed Grandpa her most irresistible smile. â€śMay I keep it?â€ť She cuddled the bunny near her cheek.
â€śThat wouldnâ€™t be the best thing for the baby, now would it?â€ť
â€śNo, I guess not, but I love bunnies.â€ť The smile faded from her face. â€śIts mother can take better care of it than I could.â€ť
â€śBut I would take such good care of a horse,â€ť Selah blurted. He rotated to look at her as his face scrunched up. â€śNot again,
Selah. Donâ€™t push me on that.â€ť
â€śGrandpa! Youâ€™ve seen the walls in my room at home. Every
inch is covered in horse. Why canâ€™t we just talk about getting a horse?â€ť
â€śBecause I said so.â€ť
â€śThe farmâ€™s too quiet, Grandpa. A horse farm should be alive with horses.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m done with horses, Selah.â€ť
â€śI need a horse of my own! You know Grandma wouldâ€™ve wanted me to have a horse.â€ť
His eyes darkened. He wagged a finger at her, and then shoved his hands in his pockets as he turned back toward the nest. â€śSelah, thatâ€™s enough. Bring the bunny and come on. Your summer vacation should not be torture for me. Do you want me to call your parents and have them come get you already?â€ť
â€śNo, sir. But, itâ€™s your fault! You gave me Grandmaâ€™s horse library. Do I read anything except horse books?â€ť
â€śShe would have wanted you to have them.â€ť
â€śAnd a horse!â€ť Selah bit the inside of her lip. â€śWhen I was really little and your paint horse put his muzzle right in my face, and breathed his scent on me... itâ€™s like he cast a spell over me that changed me forever.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sorry, Selah. Itâ€™s not gonna happen. I let you get a cat, remember? And I ended up taking care of it. I donâ€™t even like cats.â€ť
â€śYou love Pearl.â€ť She eased the last baby in with its litter as she glared at Grandpa.