After almost a year of selling our home in suburbia and moving to a farm with cross-eyed animals and vast acreage, there are many things I have learned, but one thing stands out the most: animals do not like to be contained.
No matter how enormous your coop, cage or fence may be, they will eventually realize that there is a life outside of those pens that they have yet to explor, and they will try their best to break free.
Last week, it was a rabbit. We had just finished a chapter over breakfast about two brother rabbits that had disobeyed their mother, left their rabbit home, and sojourned on in search of greater parsley while the mother was at the store.
Lo and behold, when we went out to feed the animals, a larger male rabbit had escaped and was taunting us around and around the shed.
I had met my match — crisp celery and ice cold water did not entice this rabbit, who was a recent addition to our farm and knew little about its surroundings.
Even the cat tried to round up this critter, but it was all for naught. If we lost him to the woods, he would most certainly be devoured by some large creature at sunset. If we found him, the babies would have their dad back. And we could go back indoors and stop swatting at bees. Oh spring. You have arrived, yes?
It occurred to me, after more than an hour of trying to snag him up, that I was going about this the wrong way. I needed to outnumber him, and who better to ask than the three little farmhands right in my own home?
They are used to running around like crazy people and know the best hiding places in the woods, so it should have come as no surprise when they instantly went to work, strategically placing vegetables, blocking off small holes so we could corner him, and tying themselves together with a long rope like a band of mountain climbers. (I have no idea what the significance was in the rope plan.
But it was pretty adorable.) Finally, after over two hours of trying, we rescued him and placed him in a much more reliable cage and went inside to line up for showers. It is no wonder our water bill is so high.
As people, we feel the same urge to break free from our shells. Our cages. Our little corner of the world.
There is always a wonder of what could have been.
But the grass is not always greener.
Our rabbit did not want to be rescued, yet hours later, he was hungry, tired and incredibly thirsty.
Our diligence saved his life.
Do you want to be rescued? Or are you barely staying afloat? Sometimes enjoying the slice of life right in your backyard and being content with that space is better than roaming with no vision of home.
Christie Elkins is a Campbell County native whose columns appear weekly on the Lifestyles page of the LaFollette Press. She’s a mother of three and a full-time blogger at lettersfromthenest.com.