The Lost Animals of Summer

Whenever my husband and I return home from an evening out, we catch sight of a lost looking animal at the side of the road.  A couple of days ago we saw a fox cub; his ruddy fur, fanning out from his face like a mane.  Seconds later, he fled into the bushes, the tip of his tail signalling a hasty farewell.  He’s not the first fox cub we’ve seen around here, but sadly, they are never seen twice.  People travel very fast on the road, despite the fact that there is barely room for two cars.  In summer, conditions become even more lethal as the leafy outreach of briars restricts the space even further.

Fox cub.
Our guy may have been a little fluffier, but the resemblance is close enough!

We recently disturbed a cat and her kittens, pausing while mother-cat ushered her babies to safety.  One excitable kitten leapt over another in his rush to get away.  They were all coloured patches and gleaming eyes, mixed with the odd, muted miaow.  The scene reminded me of a book called ‘The Midnight Kittens’ by Dodie Smith (author of 101 Dalmatians).  I loved that book as a child – the air of mystery and magic as orphaned twins, Pam and Tom begin feeding a tribe of kittens, who only appear at the darkest time of night.

It always feels special when an animal chooses to live or spend time in your garden.  Even now, as regular readers of this blog will know, I gaze at swallow chicks, baby rabbits and shy hedgehogs in awe.  Perhaps, because I never experienced this kind of contact with wildlife in my childhood. Although we had a beautiful garden, we were surrounded by other houses and I suspect the day-to-day noise discouraged animals from making themselves known!  I do remember a slow worm, thrashing about on the hot patio stones and my Dad announcing that he had heard the cuckoo, calling me to come and listen.  I haven’t heard a cuckoo in years!

This stage of summer can make me feel a little lost.  It’s too hot for comfort, there’s nothing on television, the flies are numerous and aggressive, but there are positives . . . The high pollen season is drawing to an end and soon we’ll be able to pick blackberries.  I’ve written a new poem and have only one chapter left to complete in the first draft of my novel.  It’s funny how the chapter seems to be moving at the speed of a tortoise, but hey, that’s how it is with writing sometimes.  At least the end is in sight.   Then it will be time to start all over again with draft 2!

Photo credit: johnmuk / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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