Monday, February 08, 2010

Watership Down

The cold I've had for the past few days muddled my brain sufficiently that I couldn't read my usual mix of current-events magazines. So I pulled Watership Down off the shelf and read it again. I added a little fun to it by pulling my European bird and plant guides off the shelf too, and looked up the birds and plants I didn't know that were referred to in the book. I'm always amazed that there are so many of both of them that are so different from what we have in North America.

I first read Watership Down at the urging of one of my mentors, not too long after the book first came out. "Rabbits?" I said. "Yes," he said, "but what rabbits!" Hazel's style of leadership became one of my models: let everyone define their own contributions, give credit whenever you can, and take every good idea and opportunity that comes along.

The picture at the top is taken from here, to whom I am very much indebted. Good Watership Down pictures are hard to come by on the Web. This one is from the film, which I haven't seen. That must be Hazel on the right, watching while Blackberry, the innovator and practical solutions rabbit, checks out the board that will take Fiver, the seer, and Pipkin, the little guy, across the river early in their adventures.

It's a good book for kids, too, perhaps a little dark in places. And just a good read and way to learn more of the European birds and plants.

Correction: That's Hazel testing out the board, and Blackberry standing to the side. Just what you'd expect from a good leader.

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