Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Pigeons and Rabbits

You might think that pigeons and rabbits live together in harmony. You're wrong.

While teaching the other evening on a quiet industrial estate, I saw a rabbit nibbling away on a nearby verge. A short distance away, there were a couple of pigeons, also looking for food in the same verge.

I watched them to see how they interacted. They kept a mistrustful distance, never coming totally within range of a possible wing flap or the kick of a hind leg.

"How can this be?", I mused, "when they are both herbivores?"

The reason, I surmised was cultural differences. I further worked out that the key to these differences was their relationship to the ground.

Pigeons, you see, like the sky. Put them in a tunnel underground and they will be discomfited. They are by nature claustrophobic.

Rabbits, on the other hand, are at home beneath the ground. Their philosophical relationship with the sky is diametrically opposed to that of pigeons. Put a rabbit into the sky, and you take it well outside it's comfort zone. Rabbits are agoraphobic. (Angoraphobic?)

So their antipathy is not due to competition for the same food, or even a natural distrust of other creatures of equivalent size. It's down to a profoundly different worldview.

I must admit, dear reader, I found their mutual mistrust a depressing denouement on the nature of all beings. It was almost a metaphor for the political situation, perhaps in Crimea.

But then I realised something else.

Despite their diametrically opposed positions, they had found common ground in... the ground itself.

The ground is beneath the sky. It is above underground by it's very nature. And here were two natural enemies, somehow sharing the same space. Keeping a respectful distance, true; yet able somehow to work out a compromise.

Then a bloke with a big dog hove into view. Rabbit and pigeons both scarpered.

Here comes Obama, I thought.

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