I turned the corner onto my street and saw one of our neighbourhood jackrabbits hopping across the road. When it heard my car approaching, the rabbit stopped right where it was – in the middle of the road. It held perfectly still as I slowly drove past.
Often I see one of these rabbits in my yard and instead of hopping away when I come close, it will freeze in position, as if to blend into the surroundings and become invisible. Some places are easier to blend into than others.
What is interesting to me is the rabbits hold still when they haven’t done anything wrong but if I come outside and see one doing something destructive in my garden it sure hops off in a hurry. I guess it all depends if it thinks I’ve seen it or not.
I didn’t see the rabbits eating my tulips this year, but the fact only one matured enough to flower gives me the impression the others became tasty meals.
My husband was wondering aloud one day about a sparse patch on our front lawn. He had re-seeded that area but hadn’t seen any new growth. “Maybe the birds ate the seeds,” he said. A few days later he looked outside early in the morning and saw two rabbits happily munching away in this area. It turns out they were eating the tender new shoots of grass before they matured enough for us to see them. Mystery solved!
To be fair, blending in with the surroundings can be an effective survival tactic. If the rabbit can’t be seen, there will be no danger of harm.
Although this may be useful for animals, the behaviour doesn’t work the same way for people. How do I know this for certain; because I’ve tried it?
Someone once told me she had observed me making myself invisible when I was out of my comfort zone. I was like the rabbit on the road. I thought no one could see me but I was wrong.
My desire is to feel like I belong, that I’m part of what is going on. When it feels like this is a bigger challenge than I can handle, I withdraw to protect myself from rejection. This makes me appear aloof and unapproachable. The result is I am not drawn into the group. Isn’t it ironic that I create the very situation I was afraid of?
This story was published in my book Another Perspective.