First and foremost let me place on record here that I am not a rabbit lover … far from it – unless he is a dinner in a boiling pot surrounded by carrots and onions.
You may look upon the pesky little creatures as your furry friends; but these are the same guys who kill the shrubs lovingly tended by Mrs Youcantbeserious – and 40 of them down the field will eat as much grass as one Dexter cow. Whatever is the opposite of ‘happy wife- happy life’, is what those ravenous rabbits have brought to what was once my peaceful existence. I tried to banish them from our little ‘forest’ at the end of the house … but it can’t be done and I hereby admit defeat and surrender to the dozens of white-tailed invaders who have forcibly taken possession of part of my legally owned territory.
I rose early this morning; getting up being particularly pleasurable on a bright, sunny August morning. On opening the back door, a score of weanling rabbits hightailed it off into the forest. This time I didn’t threaten gunfire on them or use any expletives. In fact, the realisation hit me that the rabbits are our great hope for the future. This most resilient of creatures is an example to mankind. As the little, stuck-up white tails disappeared into the bushes, I saluted them with that most poetic of all Irish compliments; ‘Fair f**ks to you!’
Mankind can take hope for our survival by latching on to the story of the rabbit. Has any living creature suffered more persecution? We hunted them with dogs, snared them with wire, dug them out of burrows – and still they came back more plentiful and stronger each time.
In the mid-1950s myxomatosis came to Ireland and was welcomed by farmers, because the disease was going to eliminate the rabbit population once and for all. They died in their millions and that was to be the end of the ‘poor man’s dinner.’ The incredible thing about all this is that the rabbit didn’t see it this way at all. Jack and Bunny just kept plugging away; doing what rabbits do best and so they gradually grew and expanded back to their former glory.
We humans are now in a similar predicament to the 1950s rabbit. Our planet is being burned and flooded from under our feet. Temperatures in Morocco exceeded 50* yesterday. Nothing but scorched earth remains of the Hawaiian town of Lahinaina. We had the wettest July in Ireland since records began. Spain and Portugal are experiencing their third heatwave of this summer. Bush fires are out of control from southern Europe to North America. Rising sea levels is something that should greatly concern us on this island. Despite the crazy deniers – like those in America, Argentina and Brazil, the entire human race is facing the risk of total extinction.
‘Climate change is here. It is terrifying and it is just the beginning. The era of global warming has ended. The era of global boiling has arrived.’ Those words are the stark message from UN Secretary General Antonia Guterres during a re1cent address.
But all is not yet lost … and we have been here before. It has always felt as if society was in decline and the human order coming apart. The great flu of 1918 looked like it might wipe us out: In the 1600s plagues swiped out entire cities and the inhabitants of London believed it was the end of the world. It looked for a while as if Covid might take us all out … but here we are still standing.
With the help of God we will survive climate change too. Undoubtedly the herd will be thinned out and severely chastened before we turn the corner. And it is people – the real leaders, who will help us turn that corner.
Don’t give up, or be cynical, or despair. Just think how far the decedents of the 1950s rabbit have come!
Today I saw a 6’ nettle. The bare stem grew and zig zagged six feet up through stacked bales of silage until its head could see the sun. Again, all I could say was ‘fair f##ks!!’
We’ll all be grand …
As YCBS is a ‘public service’ (!) we don’t do commercials! However, for only the second time in 17 years, we are making an exception here this week.
On 8th September I am embarking on a 100km sponsored Camino trek, to raise funds for the Irish Hospice Foundation.
I am paying all my own flights and expenses so that every Euro (and every Euro makes a difference) will go to where it is intended; The Irish Hospice Foundation.
If you would like to give us a bit of sponsorship it will be greatly appreciated.
You know yourself …! Thank you!