Dealing with crisis in the Hundred Acre Wood

by Maria

Pooh had had a Mysterious Missage underneath his front doot that morning, saying, ”I AM SCERCHING FOR A NEW HOUSE FOR OWL SO HAD YOU RABBIT,” and while her was wondering what it meant Rabbit had come and it read for him.
”I am leaving one for all the others,” said Rabbit, ”and telling them what it means, and they’ll all search too. I am in a hurry, good-bye.” And he ran off.

The cosy idyllic community of the Hundred Acre Wood is in crisis. Something unheard of has happened: Owl’s house has been blown down by a storm. Prior to this, thanks to Christopher Robin’s wise leadership, the community has survived both a tsunami and complicated integration problems, first with the single mother Kanga and then the ADHD teenager Tigger. But now Owl, the respectable member of society who can spell his name, WOL, has lost his whole home, not just experienced temporary power outages. This is the kind of situation Rabbit enjoys, since he can show his capacity to organise and liaise and give orders. Owl himself is not particularly interested in finding a new home. His way of dealing with crises is giving them names. Give a problem a name, and it will solve itself. Owl does not have a new home yet, but he already has a name and a sign for it: THE WOLERY.

The earth-bound and energetic Kanga takes a pragmatic view on the situation. She cleans the collapsed house, trying to dispose of a much garbage as possible, under Owl’s loud protests. Kanga and Owl have different opinions on material objects: what Kanga deems to be a old dirty dishcloth is Owl’s shawl. Kanga wants to start from scratch, while Owl clings to the old and familiar. Yet Kanga is the everyman, she lacks leadership skills. As usual, it is Christopher Robin who takes the lead: ”Christopher Robin was telling them what to do, and Rabbit was telling them again directly afterwards, in case they hadn’t heard…” Rabbit is the Deputy who stands by the CEO and repeats his words as his own ideas. Moreover, he knows that Christopher Robin will soon become redundant and disappear forever from the Hundred Acre Wood, and then Rabbit will have his chance! Then he will have to play clever. Therefore now Rabbit organises market studies and opinion polls, and he is everywhere, especially where nobody wants him.

Piglet is of course just a Very Small Animal, and he has already made a contribution when he summoned help during the storm. Pooh has no wish to be a leader, he is a poet, he lives in a world of his own, where honey stands for creative imagination. He can only recite gorgeous poems about Owl’s lost home.
Eventually Eeyore comes up with a solution, Eeyore the self-centered melancholic. He has received orders from Rabbit to look for a house for Owl, and he carries out the task without considerations about himself or anyone else. On the way to Owl’s new house, Pooh and Piglet get anxious, suspecting a big, big mistake. The question is whether Eeyore is really so stupid that he does not realise that the house he has found for Owl is Piglet’s house, that you cannot evict one person to offer shelter to another, even though it may be a catastrophe victim. Or can you? Is Eeyore a cold-blooded bureaucrat who has to implement his project even though it implies massive disruptions for other people? Is is right for Piglet to comply with this horrendous power exercise? Aad why doesn’t Christopher Robin interfere, like he always has so far when crises emerged? He merely tries to explain, somewhat awkwardly: ”…if your own house is blown down, you must go somewhere else, mustn’t you, Piglet? What would you do, if your house was blown down?” Pooh the bohemian saves the embarrassing situation by offering his best friend Piglet to move in, but is it really a viable solution?

Like all good books, the simple story of the Bear of a Very Little Brain provides no ready answers to the questions it poses.

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