So, I pulled back the bedroom curtains this morning and there was the buzzard, sitting on the nearest branch of the willow tree by the stream. I don’t know who was more surprised – him or me! We are used to him sitting on the top-most branches of the dead tree down the field and occasionally stopping on the long low willow branch that snakes away from us at an angle, but this branch made it feel as if he were ‘visiting’, it was so close. Now I know that winter will soon be upon us – all summer he has worked the thermals above the hill, seldom needing to come down to the valley. But now the farm is his hunting ground. Rabbits – look out!
I surprised one of our young foxes the other night. Coming home late from a meeting there he was, in the middle of the road. He looked up at me as if to say ‘well, what do you think you are doing in my road?’ and then turned tail and snaked through the hedge into our back garden. There have been so many road kills in the last week or so – so much evidence that this year’s fox cubs have not learnt the highway code. It saddens me to see their optimistic playful lives snuffed out, but the reality is that the winter ahead would have proved difficult for many of them. Our countryside can only sustain so many hunters. There would have been hunger – and worse probably.
During the summer we loved to watch the cubs in the field above our house. Their playfulness was a joy to see. I remember their first foray down to the stream, dancing round a parent and showing no fear. Magic.
A strange day today, with the church services rearranged for Remembrance. My routine set aside I plan to walk up in the woods later. I think of Dad and how proud he was of his medals (none for courage – all for ‘just being there’). The first year they will stay in their box. I miss him – not for anything special but, like his medals, for ‘just being there’.