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Follow the White Rabbit!
The other day I took the train to the Alps, travelling the high-class way. The klack-klack of the train is a thing of the past, together with conversation. Everyone was immersed in their screens like a deep-sea diver. By the time I managed to break the hypnotic attraction of my computer the train was in Lower Austria. Looking out the window I saw a surprising sight. On the ah-so-green meadows, the fresh, young cereal fields there were groups of four or five brown patches: hares.
Half a century ago you’d have raised an eyebrow at a statement like this. Seeing a brontosaur or an elephant would merit surprise but what’s so special about a few hares? It is March, breeding season and hares are what, crazy like March hares, fighting ferociously for females. Foxes are in complete disregard at this time, feet stamped, fur flying in tufts, ears perked up, noses moving and the flurry of blows would put Muhammad Ali to shame:
Source: Menyhárt Zoltán, YouTube
Yet it is a kind of a wonder to see hares in our age. In spite of the poisoning spree called “modern agriculture”, in spite of the horror machines of monoculture gigafields hares still exist in Europe. They are not very abundant — when I was a kid there were hundreds everywhere while today it is an event to see one — but they are here. And they are quite tough, too, facing up to a marsh harrier:
Source: Menyhárt Zoltán, YouTube
If there are hares, there is hope.
Not because of the colored eggs — those are provided by rabbits, the smaller relatives of our excellent warriors. Most people only meet domesticated rabbits munching on some vegetable in their tiny cage. In the cage the animals do not, in the slightest, look like Nobel-prize recipients. I wonder if humans would, given the circumstances. If you had an opportunity to observe rabbits under better conditions, however, you know they are creatures with considerable intelligence.
Last time I asked if you had a special relationship with a particular animal. We had a white rabbit that my mother saved from the labs at the university. She took it home and he enjoyed considerable freedom of movement in our room allowing for his individuality to surface. He was endowed with an excellent spatial sense finding his way to the top of the desk in no time. When we entered the room he hopped over, smelled us and pushed his head to our hands to be stroked. Rabbits are social creatures. Sometimes he would snap his ears up and listen to sounds we didn’t hear while at other times he would stomp the floor in a strange way but generally I would call him a relaxed, cheerful animal. He was christened Dear Pretty Lovely Wonderful Rabbit which is not extremely creative but does express something hard to put into words — rabbitness.
Source: Ronald Plett, Pixabay
This is not him and not even the monster from Monty Python — just a harmless white rabbit. D. P. L. W. Rabbit looked like this initially, before growing nice and long. Unlike this writing which is about to end here. I have said that if there are hares there is hope. Hope for survival, spring, renewal, fertility celebration. I wish a cheerful, relaxed, soft, bouncy Easter for all my precious readers.