Supposed Threats

My daughter and I are working on some children’s books about animals. As I’ve been going through all the pictures, there are some that have a story to tell outside the confines of its specific book. On this particular day, we had gathered a small group of bunnies and set about taking pictures. Since animals are my daughter’s expertise, she is always mindful to make sure we do not cause them any stress in the course of working with them. So we placed them on a protected lawn with an abundance of sun and shade, and let them explore and roam freely undisturbed by us. Once they appeared comfortable with their surroundings, I began taking pictures. It is always a bit tricky to find the balance in getting close enough to take a photo but not so close as to trigger the fight or flight response. Even laying on my stomach and hardly moving, they were either on their hind legs watching and ready to warn the others, or running away and hiding. All except this one.

As I shot picture after picture, this little guy actually turned around and began slowly moving towards me. He came at an angle and I wanted to shoot straight-on so I wiggled and crawled and put myself right in his path… all the while being watched by him. He sat there and stared at me for quite some time, then turned around and hopped across the yard. I was intrigued by his courage.

Our brief time with them was as stress-free as we could make it, yet bunnies being bunnies, most saw danger in every movement and our very existence in the yard threatened them. They didn’t know that they could have no better person championing their cause than my daughter.

Most of us seek to be courageous and look our troubles squarely in the face. But in doing that, sometimes we are like those other bunnies: we see trouble where none exists. We fret and worry and spend our valuable energy wondering what is going to happen. One day when I was firmly entrenched in such behavior my brother gave me one of his favorite quotes. It has now become a favorite of mine.

Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From the evil which never arrived.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson