With Lawrence away, Bow and I are pretty much on our own, and we are left without too much external company. But people do still come by. On Friday the lady from the store brought over some bananas and some apples for Bow. She also stopped to chat. "I had to be careful not to run over all those bunnies you have on your property," she said. I knew what she meant. The rabbits on my property tend to run in zigzags on the road every time a car drives by. It seems to make it more likely that they will get run over than if they simply moved out of the way, but they have their own reasons for acting that way.
I asked her if she had that many rabbits on her property, and she said that she had a cat, so there were fewer rabbits. But on my land the rabbits are proliferating, and they act in strange and mysterious ways. They don't simply run away when you chase them. They lead you on a merry dance.
The above is a four minute video that I took maybe a week ago, but it took me all day yesterday to upload. There were three rabbits out and visible at the start, but the littlest rabbit ran north, and the other two took turns leading me on a merry chase. Why didn't they just run straight for the woods in order to lose me? What were they actually thinking?
My daughter asked me the other day why I keep chasing the rabbits. Did I want to catch and tame them? No, of course not. I have my hands full with Bow. I want to learn to understand the rabbits, not to possess or to change them.
But, unlike the Animal Rights Activists I know, I don't want to tell other people what they should do with their rabbits. Some people keep rabbits for pets. Some people raise rabbits for meat. Some hunt rabbits, and some wear rabbit fur coats. And I think all of that is okay, if they are doing it with their own rabbits on their own land. What I would dearly object to would be someone entering on my land and doing it to my rabbits.
I think it is great that there are ethologists who study chimpanzees in the wild. What is not so great is when those ethologists declare that chimpanzees should exist only in the wild or in sanctuaries. It is not good at all that these ethologists start dictating exactly what should be done to or with chimpanzees, as if there were only one way to live.
I feel the same way about humans, by the way. There are wild humans who have not yet learned to count. Should we round them all up and force them into a modern school? I think that would be sad. But by the same token, this does not mean that I want to tell all parents not to send their children to school.
There is more than one way to be. You can be a wild rabbit. You can be a wild chimp. You can be a wild human. Or you can be domesticated. Who should choose? Those born wild, should be left alone, unless they choose civilization.
Those of us born domesticated, like Bow and me, need to be left alone to live our domestic life. Unless, of course, we find a way to become wild again.
Most of us recognize that missionaries and social workers are not always the best influence on indigenous populations. But it is hard to interact with others without interfering. And lots of bad things can happen when cultures clash. When someone from the outside comes and says "Let me help you" one has to be wary. We have to ask, is this help going to make us happier? Or is it going to make us more like him?