Áine McGrath:  A Rabbits Tale.


One day last week I was lifting a few spuds at the allotment and stopped to have a chat with a neighbouring plot holder.  As we stood there, I couldn’t help but notice out of the corner of my eye that there was a young wild rabbit sitting nearby, nibbling on some grass under a hawthorn hedge.  Silently foraging, it sat there in the sunshine, twitching its whiskers whilst it chewed on the blades of grass.  Eyes glistening, it was a beautiful thing to see – and to be so close to.  So as not to disturb it, I whispered to my friend “look – right there!” and gestured in the rabbit’s direction – not thinking that he wouldn’t be quite so keen to see it as I was…


I was horrified when my friend reached towards the ground and picked up a rock, about eight inches square.  Like a primitive hunter-gatherer, he eyed up the rabbit, growled under his breath and raised the rock up above his shoulder to take aim.


“NO!” I yelled, startling him into submission.  “What do you want to do that for?  Look at all the size of it – and look at the size of us!”  He was stunned and muttered “well…they come in and eat everything in sight!”, gesturing towards his plot.  Yes: I remembered then that wild rabbits had indeed found a way onto his allotment last summer and had particularly enjoyed his beans…


He went to take aim again.  “NO! DON’T DO IT!” I yelled again.  “Look” I said, “that wee rabbit’s only doing what comes naturally to it.  It spends its day searching for food, then it goes home to its burrow and makes baby rabbits.  That’s all they do – that’s all they’re supposed to do.  This is its home, its natural environment.  WE’RE the ones who are upsetting the natural order of things here!  We each have a wee strip of ground that we grow stuff on in a concentrated, cultivated fashion, and those wee rabbits come in here and see all of this and think “waaa-hey!”  We’re practically laying out a buffet for them – yet we persecute them for following their instinct!”


Unable to keep from smiling, he looked at me and said “uuuurrrgghhhh!!!  You bloody big softie!  I’d never thought of it that way before…”  Laughing, he threw the rock away and left the rabbit to eat in peace.


Incidences such as our encounter with the rabbit serve to remind us that life does not revolve around our own personal needs and desires.  There are always other people, or other things, to consider, and every choice that we are faced with presents us with an opportunity to generate a positive or negative outcome.  The truth is that we can’t make informed, responsible decisions without considering the perspective of all of the parties concerned – even if it is only that of a young wild rabbit!  Just because a situation directly affects us, it doesn’t mean to say that ours is the only viewpoint that matters.  In every sphere of life, there will always be other viewpoints – and they will always be equally as valid as the one(s) that pertain to our own personal selves.  Just take a quick look down the headlines that are making the news today.  How many differing viewpoints do you see?  How much compromise do you see?  It makes me wonder, just how many of those people making the news today could benefit from watching baby rabbits…

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