What are the limits of human imagination? Where does fantasy blend with reality? Is the universe curved? Why do we always lose single socks but never two at once?
The answer we think our daughter was looking for to her original question ‘How deep is a rabbit hole’ is:
It varies depending on the type of ground, how soft the soil is, how high the water table is and how long the population of rabbits has been there. A small bolt-hole could be just a couple of feet deep and might not link to any other burrows. A long established warren (the correct name for a system of burrows) could be up to 3 metres deep and cover a wide area, possibly up to half a mile. The system of interconnecting tunnels and holes consist of living quarters and nesting chambers.
Did you now rabbits aren’t native? They were brought here by the Romans about 2,000 years ago where they were kept for food. They almost certainly died out after the Romans’ reign ended. They were re-introduced by the Normans, who kept them for food and fur. Rabbits that escaped from the Normans then established the large population of rabbits that we know today.
But how deep could a rabbit hole go? A metaphor for exploring philosophical and existential thinking?
Alice fell down the rabbit hole after following a rabbit in a waist-coat that popped down a hole under a hedge. She followed the tunnel which continued for ‘some way’ and then ‘dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well…either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly…’
Ever had that feeling…..?
Woodingdean well, hand-dug between 1858 and 1862, is claimed to be the world’s deepest hand-dug well at 1,285 feet (392 m).
So, Alice could have fallen down a rabbit hole that went to 392 metres deep or as Alice wondered, ‘Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! `I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?’ she said aloud. `I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think–‘
Or – consider this from Morpheus (Matrix maestro, Greek god of dreams):
Remember the Jefferson Airplane tune ‘White Rabbit’?
And one pill makes you small,
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
How deep are you prepared to go…?