As a young teenager deer hunting with my father, I had the unusual experience of encountering a pair of “Snowshoe Hares” in the forest.  For those who haven’t heard of “Snowshoe” Hares, they are large rabbit-like creatures that live in Northern arctic and sub-arctic climes.  Only the Northern one-third of my home state of Minnesota has wild Snowshoe Hares.

The weak link in the camouflage of the Snowshoe Hare

The weak link in the camouflage of the Snowshoe Hare

Normally, I wouldn’t have seen these not-so-rare creatures because they are well-camouflaged.  In the summer, they are grey-brown and in the winter they are stark white.  As soon as the snow flies in the fall, their hair turns to white so as to conceal them from predators.  The white color makes them hard to see against the white snow.

Well this particular fall, there had been six or eight inches or snow and then a quick thaw, which melted all the snow, so the ground was the dirty brown grey of a Winter with no snow.

The Hares were still white, however.

These two guys stood out like white beacons on the dark landscape of the Minnesota Winter Tundra.  Most critters in the hare/rabbit family are pretty skittish and they run at the first sign of danger, unless they think their enemy can’t see them.

Then they freeze and stay perfectly still, which is what these guys did as I approached.

I had a rifle but I had no interest in shooting a Snowshoe Hare though I did want to see what they would do.  I walked up so close to these guys that I could have taken them out with a bayonet, or even my hunting knife.  I could have leapt on top of one of them and captured it live, I was that close.  I actually nudged one of them with my boot and he took a few hops away and froze again, secure in the knowledge that I COULD NOT SEE HIM.

I thought at the time it was “kinda cute” that they thought I couldn’t see them.

The next time I thought about the Snowshoe Hares was maybe 15 years later when I lived in a developing nation well-known for the “intimate” services made available to tourists.  On a television news show, with a completely straight face, a very senior law-enforcement officer said, “There is no prostitution in my country.  It’s against the law.”

I have encountered this kind of behavior, on the part of politicians, in multiple developing and developed nations, even my own.  I’ve always marveled at how stupid they must think the average individual is, if they think the blatant, inconceivable nonsense they are spouting will be believed.

Like the white fur of the Snowshoe hare, these people seem to think their title or status as a public figure gives them a special camouflage so that the populace will believe anything they say, simply because they said it on TV and won’t “see” the obvious stark differences between their words and the truth.  (sadly, this is actually often the case)…

But for those paying attention…

Another situation where one encounters this kind of behavior is with addicts, drugs, alcohol, gambling, or whatever.  We all know people in this state, with this illness, are very VERY manipulative.  It’s part of the disease.  I’ve gone through this with multiple people in my life and it’s all the same.  If they are trying to conceal the addiction or trying to rationalize why they can’t do what even the dumbest chair in the room knows they MUST DO if they want to survive, they can make up all kinds of fantastic stories, imaginary responsibilities, and mocked up threats they must deal with before they can do what they need to do.

I’m certain they have actually convinced THEMSELVES the truth of what their saying and in this state, they are a Snowshoe Hare during a Winter thaw.  They simply cannot imagine how obvious it is to those around them that all their excuses, explanations, and lies are as transparent, and they themselves are as easy to see through as a Snowshoe Hare is to see on the snowless Tundra of Minnesota in Winter.

It’s also a pretty solid indication that they still consider the “pain” of going through treatment to be greater than they pain they currently experience from their addiction.

And they are not likely to change their behavior until they make a change to that particular postulate.

Thanks for reading.

2 Responses to Snowshoe Hares

  • Brilliantly written…keen observation and analogy. As I, too, have known many addicts throughout my life. An addicts pain I’d imagine is as painful as those who love them and observe their demise…

    • Carl

      Thanks, Lisa.

      And that’s for sure.

      I’m pretty sure it sucks at least as much to BE an addict as it does to watch them self-destruct.


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