Vulnerable

I walked in the rain yesterday. Just a little rain, but enough to get a bit wet. The ocean was lapping at the shore, with high tide and wind-driven waves. I was having a good time walking, so I extended my route through the woods. The reindeer moss was looking very healthy. Sometimes it seems to get trampled but maybe there are fewer walkers in there this year.

Just a few steps after I took the photo of the moss, I noticed something white. It was a rabbit! A snowshoe hare.

It was still for long moments, allowing me to take a couple of photos. It knew I was there, it was looking right at me. Eventually I moved and it bounded away.

I glanced behind me on the trail and I caught another glimpse of it jumping around in the underbrush. A beautiful animal.

Later in the day, I realized some things that didn’t occur to me initially. I could see the rabbit because it is white against the brown forest floor. The rabbit is white, but there is no snow right now. The rabbit turns white for camouflage, but doesn’t have this safety advantage on days like this. It’s vulnerable. Yet it still turns white because its evolution through millennia of snowy winters has directed it to turn “white for winter.”

The rabbit stayed still because it thought it was camouflaged. Instead it was highlighted.

Snow in the forecast tomorrow. I am far from knowing all about the rabbit, but I know it will do better with some snow.

1 Response

  1. Liz A says:

    such a beautiful creature, but the white against brown is like a canary in the mine … a warning so clear that our climate is altering faster than creatures can adapt to it … I fear we have passed the point where we can avoid an increasing array of consequences

    continued thanks for giving a glimpse of your world here …

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