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Monday, July 21, 2014

Keeping Things in Balance

Yesterday I finally surprised the rabbit by the blooming phlox. It must have been right there underfoot when I went to look at the flowers. I didn't see it flee, but I felt a big whoosh close by. Had that been a bird? No, too big for a bird. So I looked, and there it was in the underbrush between the flower beds.

This is a cropped version of the original  picture. My friend Jerilee helped me crop it.
The rabbit stood stock still for a good long while. It gave me enough time to both snap a picture and also shoot a very brief video.

Notice that after the rabbit hopped away, it did not go far. It was still there in sight, just a little deeper into the underbrush. I decided the wise course of action would be not to try to follow. I panned the camera so you could see just how close we were to the blooming phlox.

My house is surrounded by fields and woods, and lately we have been seeing lots and lots of rabbits. "There are too many of them," my daughter recently remarked, as several of them ran away on either side of our long driveway when we were going for a drive. "Someone should go hunting."

Someone probably will go hunting. It might be a coyote or better yet a fox.

In Case There's a Fox

I have never seen a fox on my property in all the years that I have lived here. But that does not mean that there isn't one. In fact, by making my land so hospitable to rabbits, I am inviting a fox to come live here. Why? Because foxes love rabbits. They are delicious!

Do I say this because I dislike rabbits? Not at all. One of my favorite books is Watership Down. I can very well imagine myself living the life of a rabbit. But then I can turn around and also imagine being a fox. I think the presence of the fox is as much a service to the rabbits as the presence of the rabbits is a service to the fox. We all need each other, and the circle of life depends on a delicate balance between predator and prey.

Without rabbits and other small prey, the foxes would starve, Without foxes and other predators, the rabbits would get fat and sick and overpopulate the land and die of starvation. They need each other, as all living things on this planet do.

Some people think they are very enlightened because one day when they are fully grown they suddenly  realize that the burger on their plate used to be a cow. But I think that someone who did not find this out until he was an adult must have led a very sheltered life. True enlightenment is the realization that the cow would never have existed at all, would never have been out in the field grazing and experiencing mother love or companionship or any other joyful  aspect of life, if not for the people who were raising it as food.

Balance is a difficult concept. It requires countervailing forces. It is based on conflict of interest. It means there will never be total peace, but a delicate balance of power prevents all out war from destroying everything.

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