My “Watership Down” Moments

By Michael Patrick, Ph.D.

I am unsettled today, more than usual. On the surface, things appear quiet and fine. My housekeeper worked her magic today, creating a clean and orderly house again. The groceries and supplies are in, bills paid, thank you, and a Christmas adventure is hatching. Nonetheless…

Ever read “Watership Down” by Richard Adams? The character, Fiver, is among my favorites. Fiver comes to mind because I understood when he suddenly sensed things. Sensing things is most likely a reason why I became a journalist. I had an insatiable desire to sort out what I felt was happening before the facts were plain.

Something has left us in America, and we barely noticed its departing. It’s as if something else deeply unsettling has rolled in to take its place along with the season’s chill.

It’s not Covid. Covid will leave us in due season with our scars, our silliness, and our fears. It’s not the pending election. As with all elections, this one will come and go, and deliver to us what we earned, even if it’s not what we asked for.
No, what has washed in on the sunset tide is more lasting. “Watership Down” described it this way:

“The rabbits … knew well enough what was happening. But even to themselves they pretended that all was well, for the food was good, they were protected, they had nothing to fear but the one fear; and that struck here and there, never enough at a time to drive them away. They forgot the ways of wild rabbits. They forgot El-ahrairah, for what use had they for tricks and cunning, living in the enemy’s warren and paying his price?”

We shall see, despite my sense that we are not nearly ready for what’s coming.

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