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Mama, gardener, teacher, photographer, faffer with paint and colour

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Earth works, a fox cub, and a sunset to keep.

The air is dusty around here. For those of you who don't know, we are lucky to live in the grounds of a large manor house and as the owners are now here permanently, the changes have really begun. The bank beside the main house is being carved away for a swimming pool. The digger has scratched bear claw marks down the hillside, and 9 ton dumpers are carrying the earth away to lie anew in an adjacent field opposite our veg patch.It's all pretty dramatic and I do feel a large ouch when looking at the hillside, akin to your child peeling back their jeans to show you a big bloody scrape.This is the view from our window.

It began like this....

Then got a lot bigger....

And is still growing...

 Like Fantastic Mr Fox's hill the hillside is being reduced. I am not ranting, or even tutting, actually surreally detached, just watching and thinking about rabbits and fieldvoles and the animals that burrow and scurry around the hill. I think I am actually in denial in order to stay sane, with two 9 ton dumpers crossing in front of our window from 7am to 5, the noise is constant. When it stops, it is bliss.

After thinking of the tale of Boggis, Bunce and Bean all week I had my first close encounter with a fox. On our way home in a friend's car, we came across a fox cub lying in the road, on the white centre lines, facing us with its head up, watching and staring into the headlights. It was clearly too shocked to move and we imagined it had been hit by a car. It didn't move even when I stood next to it.When I clapped my hands, encouraging it to get the hell up before I got run over on the dark country road, it staggered awfully to the side of the road, with one or two broken legs. It also had a bloody gash on the inside of its groin.Thank you lovely D for helping to bundle it in your blanket, and into the back of your car! I was so thankful that you cared too and didn't want to leave it there.

Back home, I tried to work out where to put the fox if it had any chance of surviving the night. I imagined it would die but if it survived the night I could call a rescue centre in the morning. I decided on the bottom of our steep stairwell which is warm and secure with an already trashed carpet.Our puppy barked like mad upstairs as a fox smell is one of the dogs favourite things to follow. I faffed about getting water and a medicine syringe, felt a bit hopeless in the florence nightingale sector, telling a sleepy Ashley that I'd brought an injured fox home, reassuring the dogs that it was just a fox in the hall downstairs, nothing to bark about.The cub was looking pretty rough by now, I sat and gave it some water with a syringe. I remembered grandmothers' thirsty for one last drink whilst their lives were ebbing and reassured myself that at least it wouldn't die thirsty.Every time I thought it was fading it would sit up to raise my hopes before slumping back down.

I felt very connected to the life of this cub in a very short time, feeling honoured to be next to a wild animal, being able to look into its eyes and send all the comfort I could muster. I thought of Tenzin's Deer, a beautiful children's book ( but for adults too) about healing and acceptance. Only it seemed like this animal was going to die and there wasn't much other than pure love I could give it.
Not such a bad gift I know. I realised that it might be distressed by the light so finally said my goodbye and left the fox and it's destiny in the hall ( If you can't find your destiny it might be in the hall )
When I woke up I knew it had died straight away, something had gone, a different feeling in my body.

 Daisy showed some of the workmen the fox cub's body that I had put in the stable, first thing as they arrived for work, with an eager "Can I show you something?", not quite psychologically preparing them for a dead baby fox! They were amazed she wasn't scared of it. I am thankful that she gets to see life and death in this way.

I decide to take the cub across the river and lay it's body high up in the woods.The rather ironic recycle bag felt heavy and thankfully our pup Rosie took one sniff and ignored it as we walked to the river. I didnt fancy battling pup and fox across the stepping stones. For her too the fox was gone, nothing exciting.
At the top of the hill in the woods I found several ancient oak trees. There was a scraped out hollow under one which seemed like a fitting resting place ( probably another annoyed fox's lay up).
When I had laid the fox out, Rosie whimpered at it, sniffed it and ran back away frightened. Death is a leveller for all of us animals.

I didn't want to bury the cub, but I wanted to surround it, encircle it, somehow comfort, protect it, not sure what so I used bark and bracken and a feather and an ever faithful campion flower, always around whenever you have a flower emergency. I did a bit of internal wailing (a terribly English habit of welling up and gulping and then being unable to cry). Bless you fox.

Anyway!  In true local news style here are some lighter moments of the summer.

The essential potato and spoon race, at every good wedding this summer.
( Where was your potato race Anita?!) I love the difference in the expressions of the competitors.

The coolest trike around, solar and pedal powered.This guy was playing summer reggae sounds at the eden project. His deck is in the boot. He looked like he was very happy in his job. Ashley just told me the man made it himself.
I would have taken photos at Nofit State Circus at the Eden Project but this year they didnt allow photographs what a shame as it is soooo much fun and I wanted to share it. Check out the you tube video if you want to see a revolving woman and the coolest pole dancer on the planet...click and click again nofitstatecircus. It was incredible, if you get the chance to see them ever, do it!

Night Night.x