Sometimes I would take Roxy and Pixie, my two labs, down to the river for long walks and let them explore. Not only was it a change of scenery but it was a time for me to reflect about life in general. During one of those outings I observed how life works for me and why I never seemed to get ahead. After watching the dogs in their endeavors I decided that I’ve always chased rabbits.
Roxy was the faster of the two dogs and also the more skilled hunter. She would make wide sweeps through the brush and flush rabbits that were hiding there. Pixie would go ahead and wait for the rabbits to come her way.
A rabbit would jump out of the brush and race for shelter somewhere else, always with Roxy in hot pursuit. Pixie would always be ready but somehow the rabbits would outmaneuver or jump at the right time and escape. I didn’t pay much attention at first but I noticed the results were the same each and every time.
I set up an observation point so I could watch the entire chase. The chase went smoothly and their efforts proved fruitless. Somehow, though, I had a hunch that deception was taking place right before my eyes and I was missing a key ingredient of the action. I needed more information to come up with a reasonable explanation.
Several missions later I brought my camcorder and got ready for action. Roxy flushed a rabbit. It ran and increased its lead for a moment. Roxy gained and drew closer. Pixie waited and then dashed in just when the rabbit arrived. The rabbit found a sudden burst of energy and got away. At least it seemed that way as I watched in real time.
Later as I reviewed the movie I had taken of the chase, I noticed a few strange details. The rabbit getting away was not the rabbit at the beginning of the chase. After studying the movie in slow motion I came to the conclusion there were four rabbits, and they were in a relay. The first rabbit would get a big lead, slow down and hide. The second rabbit would leap up and repeat the process. Each rabbit in turn would take over at the appropriate time, leaving the last rabbit to make a clean getaway.
I could almost hear each rabbit snickering behind the bushes. “Heh, heh, heh. I can hardly wait for my turn. They’ll eat my dust as I show those dogs my speed.”
All my life I’ve been in pursuit of one rabbit after another. Just when I thought life was under control, something else would leap to the front and distract me, leaving me to always be the chaser but never getting ahead. By watching the dogs I learned to keep my eyes on my target. When it stops I need to take a moment to rest and regain strength. And then be ready to run again. Oh, yes, and to have fun. I don’t have to catch anything today. Tomorrow will be a new day and there will be more rabbits.
- Rabbit (pugen.wordpress.com)
- Fox and Hare (place9011.com)
- Giant rabbit sculpture keeps Sacramento airport hopping (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Wild Hares (morethanenoughtruth.com)
- Notes and queries: Rabbits, hares and the first of the month; Why aqueducts were easy for the Romans; Napoleon: Europe’s first right-hand driver (guardian.co.uk)
- Chasing Rabbits- Doug Firebaugh (itouchedathought.wordpress.com)