I love my morning bicycle rides on the walk-run-bike trail near my house. By the lake I might see a heron or a few ducks. Smaller birds flit in the trees and land in the path in front of me. In one section of the trail I have recently noticed several rabbits who seem interested in, but cautious of, me and my bicycle.
The other morning one of the rabbits appeared to be a little caught off-guard when I approached. She seemed to think I might not have seen her, and was uncertain what she ought to do next. If she ran, she would get away but I would certainly notice. If she remained still she might be a little more vulnerable, but I might miss her. To my delight, she chose the latter, or at least so it appeared.
As I drew near and eventually passed by, I watched her closely and noticed she wasn’t perfectly still—her front leg was moving, ever so slowly. She was getting ready to spring to safety if I turned out to be a threat.
Her leg moved so slowly and smoothly it reminded of the high-definition slo-mo they used in last year’s World Series. I always love that. The camera slows down the pitch so much and and the picture remains so clear, you can see the spin of a curve ball or the bat bend just a little upon impact of a hit that will leave the park.
That rabbit was smart. She instinctively knew something I had to be taught and need reminders of from time to time.
I remember Little League coaches instructing us in the field to start moving as the pitcher wound up. “Get up on the balls of your feet,” they would say, and we would begin taking these microscopic steps toward the plate. That little bit of movement, we soon learned, helped us get a better jump on the ball if it was hit toward us.
Because we were already moving we could simply adjust our direction to arrive at the ball. The change of direction took far less time than getting started from a stopped position.
That’s what my rabbit friend was doing. Getting started even though she didn’t know which direction she might need to hop.
Sometimes when life is difficult, we want to retreat, to play dead, or at least stand perfectly still and hope no one notices us. We sit on the couch waiting for something to happen, a “sign,” before we are willing to do anything.
That’s where we can learn from the bunny and baseball. Get moving, just a little bit. Any direction will do. Then you’ll be ready to hop to safety, to get to the ball, to seize that next opportunity when it presents itself.