Welcome to my WordPress world. These toy rabbits staring into a tree house filled with marshmallow bunnies is a photograph of a diorama I made with my son last Easter. I have some reservations with using the word “diorama” because we actually did very little to alter what was already a fairly bizarre looking thing. The tree house and the bunnies were part of a Playmobile set. Included in the set was a mama bunny and two child bunnies. Papa bunny was not included. There were, however, a lot of small, almost mircoscopic-sized parts including dinner plates the size of pin heads. There was a full silverware set for three—knives, forks and spoons all as thin as paper clip wire. A vase of flowers for the picnic table. A stew pot to sit over a cooking fire. A ladle to stir the the duo of purple cabbages. Clearly, the point of the bunny tree house is for bunnies to make food, eat it, and then sleep in their respective mounds of plastic straw.
I love this set. It makes the most banal act of eating an everyday meal strange. If this was a set of people in some ranch house with a stove, you wouldn’t get me near the thing. But these are anthropomorphic bunnies who walk on two legs and wear clothes. This makes it funny. It also makes it creepy. For humans, rabbits are food and this strange dinner table has turned. I keep looking in the cooking pot on the fire half expecting a human arm or leg to pop to the surface amongst the plastic cabbages. The tree house itself is so insecure. There is no roof. In fact, there is no front door at all, only a hollowed out section to which any one could enter. A flimsy ladder that doesn’t ever stay put provides the only connection between the top and bottom floor.
We stuffed the marshmallow chicks in the house to heighten the strangeness. Is this the bunnies’ house or the chicks? How did those fat marshmallow things get up the ladder? What are the bunnies going to do now? Who is going to be eaten and who is going to be sitting at the dinner table?
Usually the word “strange” is used as a synonym for out of the ordinary. But it also means “foreign.” It means entering a place where neither the rules or rituals are clear. In such a place, we learn how to question again.