Genista Kippin is one of our contributing editors and is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in English. She recently wrote this feature as a response to reading Annie Dillard’s personal essay “Living Like Weasels,” with a particular consideration for human distance from nature.
A rabbit is jumpy: who knows what he thinks. He flits around our campus like it is his, although, I suppose, it actually is his and we simply placed our campus atop it. I, the frightened and slightly shrieking woman, am occupying his space, which is a far greater infringement onto him than his hoping on the campus grass could ever truly be to me. I, along with my blocky buildings and my cold concrete slabs and my asphalt pathways eerily cleared of any debris, have infiltrated and taken over his rightful space, and I am continuing to do so. No wonder the rabbit is jumpy.
Once, I was speaking to a friend that I bumped into along a particular path that crosses a large enough green space to be called nature, if of course you are not used to nature being the way nature naturally is. A rabbit began to hop, hop, hop across that grassy greenness towards where we were stopped talking. In that moment, standing there while he hopped at me, I felt stuck. He should have felt stuck, hopping as he was in the measly green space comprising all that was left of where the rabbits used to reign, between towering cement blocks and glistening glass walls. Yet, it was I who stopped listening to the friend across from me, explaining something, likely something mundane, about his day, once I’d focused upon the jumpy rabbit approaching with my heart beating at the same rate as his hopping. It was I who perceived the rabbit as a predator, when the rabbit himself had every business perceiving an approaching wolf or coyote or, in fact, me.
Suddenly I wasn’t so stuck. My legs, almost on their own, sprung into action, and propelled me down the path beside the green space and towards my building. When I got inside, my heart was thumping with the sense of a near miss, although I am not sure what I feared that rabbit would do to me. I turned and looked across the green space, through a small window in the door, and saw the place where the path, the path I has just thundered down, curved gently around to the one side, and where both my friend and the rabbit stood frozen staring back at me, both looking rather confused. With the door securely latched, I pulled out my cell phone and typed: Sorry, had to run! A rabbit is jumpy… who knows what he thinks!