The essence of all growth is a willingness to change for the better and then an unremitting willingness to shoulder whatever responsibility this entails – Bill Wilson
Today I walked out to the truck parked by the church and startled a couple of rabbits. I would say it was a hare raising experience, but it is too early in the column to ear-i-tate you with such an awful pun, so I won’t.
But it did cause me to wonder whether those fur balls hopping around the vehicle were hares or rabbits. I always knew there was a difference between the two critters but must confess I wasn’t sure just what that difference might be. I grew up in the city and so such knowledge was never clearly imparted to us city dwellers. The only wild life we saw were the patrons we observed staggering out of the dozen or so bars and taverns lining 15th Avenue between school and home – a route that ran about ten blocks.
So, being the curious sort of fellow I am (and there are many people who will affirm the curiousness that is me, or I, or whatever the pronoun is supposed to be), I ran back into the office and hopped on the computer and set about investigating those sorts of details that would help me identify what form of Lagomorphs I was dealing with.
I discovered the main differences between the two critters is that hares generally have longer hind legs, longer ears, change colors (white in winter, gray or brown in summer), live in above-ground nests, and eat leaves and twigs; while rabbits tend to me smaller, stay one color year-round, live in holes, have shorter hind legs and ears, and prefer a softer diet of grasses and vegetables (like carrots). Rabbits tend to be more social, and hares tend to remain wild, even in captivity.
So it turns out the buns I saw did indeed belong to a couple of bunny-rabbits, and while they had been startled by my sudden appearance, they never-the-less did not run far, and they sat in the shade of the truck while listening ever so politely to my best Doctor Dolittle impression (which is NOT to be missed if you are ever in need of a truly wince-inducing moment in your life).
I used to talk to crows too, by the way, but had to stop when parishioners began to say I was stark raven mad.
In any case, the point I am trying to make in the telling of this tale is that I like to learn. That would surprise a lot of people as I devoted much of my school life to avoiding doing just that, but I always was a late bloomer – although why anyone would ever say that is another mystery, for I have never worn bloomers, but I’ll leave that investigation for another time.
The thing is, I have come to realize I like to learn things I never knew before. All of a sudden my curiosity gene has sprouted, and I am willing and able to look things up.
I realize that there are times ignorance is bliss, but only a hare-brained idiot would want to stay that way. The challenge is in coming to realize that facts by themselves are just silly little things, but putting them into context can make them helpful little things.
Take the difference between hares and rabbits. How is knowing the difference helpful? Well, first of all, a rabbit stew is quite tasty, but no one wants to see a hare in their soup, right? So there is that.
Secondly, if you were driving a Volkswagen Rabbit, you would want to be real careful driving around hare-pin turns, right?
And imagine how smart you would sound at the coffee shop as you disclose that Bugs Bunny is actually a mash-up composite of hare and rabbit (long ears and leg = hare, but lives in hole and eats carrots = rabbit)! You’ll be known far and wide as the town’s Einstein, which would be quite a feat considering the competition, eh?