A few weeks ago I witnessed a chase between my lead dog and a rabbit she had seen in a woodland clearing. The chase was furious pace of long runs down the clearing paths and weaves through the low plants. As my dog had not yet had her evening meal she took after her prey with hunger and pure intent, the rabbit was clearly in prime of life and had no intention of ending up in the life crushing squeeze of the jaws of a german shepherd. The rabbits smaller frame allowed for cover among the undergrowth and rapid turns, my shepherd was simply bigger, faster and much stronger. Where the rabbit ducked beneath the cover, she would simply crash through.
My dogs had a meal waiting back at my hovel and I had no intention of watching her kill the rabbit, but my first attempts to call her off failed as she had focused intently on her prey as only a hunter can. As the rabbit turned from the undergrowth and took to the path another quick turn was made and to my surprise the little creature ran towards me and my older dog. If we had been hunting the creature it would have been a fatal mistake, but I held my older dog and stepped away from the path to give a clear run past us. My shepherd was bearing down quickly on the rabbit, the ground drummed to the beat of passing feet as the rabbit passed me kicking up a small cloud of dust from the dry track. As my shepherd was passing I stepped towards her and called her. The moments distraction was enough to slow her and give the rabbit time to turn back to the undergrowth. I called her in to my side and praised her for her return.
I looked up to see the rabbit reaching the cover of the taller undergrowth by the tree line. Looking back to my dogs I could see their noses lower to the floor and they immediately picked up the rabbits trail and began to track. Their relentless nature brought a smile to my face but I was determined the chase would not resume. Again I called them and lead them away down the path.
Watching nature in the raw gives meaning to flesh, it carries life, spirit and meaning. Later that week I sat drinking black coffee in a fast food restaurant. The children there seemed more interested in the plastic toy with their meal over the food itself. Sadly in many cases there seems to be little reverence and a loss of connection to the food sustaining us. The sight of the rabbit running for dear life is burned into my memory now and for me helps remind of the reality beyond the packaging and trinkets to sell us cheap food.