Saturday, March 10, 2007

Book Passage/Mrs. Tim Gets A Job

I read the following four years ago, and find it utterly delightful. Mrs.Tim is taking a walk in Scotland in the month of March.

A hare starts up, almost at my feet, and alarms me quite as much as I have alarmed him; he gives a great leap straight up in the air and rushes away with kangaroolike bounds. Then suddenly he stops and whizzes round and crouches on the grass. A second hare appears from behind a rock and careers across the hill pursued by a third hare ... suddenly he stops, and turns and crouches. Number three, instead of continuing the pursuit stops dead and crouches too. Number one now springs up and dashes off and, as he goes, two other hares appear as if they had materialized from the bare hillside and follow him. They run round in a wide circle, sometimes stopping and crouching, sometimes leaping straight up in the air, sometimes jinking in a zigzag manner from tuft to tuft. This game of follow-my-leader is curious enough, and I watch it entranced.

Suddenly two very large hares dash out from the shelter of the wall and, having leapt and capered and whizzed round several times in a thoroughly crazy manner, they run straight at one another and begin an absurd sort of boxing match, rotating on their hind legs and hitting one another with their front paws. I rub my eyes (for it is almost incredible) and look at them again ... yes, there they are, two large brown hares with long silky ears boxing each other, hitting each other on the body or the head, dodging and capering and leaping in the air and then going for each other again. The oddest thing about it is the silence - no sound comes from the combatants - and the combat is in no way a ferocious affair. In fact it is not a fight at all but a friendly sparring match ... these creatures are full of high spirits, mad with the joy of Spring. They feel the stir of the rising sap and they caper and crouch and bound across the moor.

D.E. Stevenson, Mrs. Tim Gets A Job

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