Nature provides a dramatic theatre if only people can see it.
I witnessed a dramatic moment of natural theatre as a blackbird mother protected her young against a giant magpie. Only I saw this free theatre, the rest of humanity was blind to it.
It is a beautiful place in this Colchester square, the great water tower to my right, the Mercury Theatre in front, the many restaurants to my left. Upon this seat, near blinded by the sun, a hot laptop, and another free wi-fi point, I take a temporary rest to enjoy a moment in the sun.
It is the Easter holidays, and many people parade past me, the children with their parents. I like people watching, but I also have the sense of nature around me. Sadly most of these people who walk by me live in a different world to me, they live in a world of facts, figures and material concerns, they are blind to the nature around them. It is a blessing that I stand between two worlds, like the statue of Mercury who proudly runs atop the Mercury Theatre. I see both the mundane world of humanity and the organic world of nature, both worlds wash over me like waves of the sea.
Nobody but I saw the battle that came about behind my seat. The sudden commotion of a chattering female blackbird as a magpie appears. There is a dramatic moment as the blackbird dive bombs the magpie that is twice its size, the magpie flees. The theatre for humans in front of me, the theatre of nature behind me. My intuition tells me there is a nest nearby, the eternal story of the mother defending her young.
Can you love a wild animal?
Amber the fox, happy to just be.
Do you remember a special event, perhaps a birthday? Are you excited when you anticipate the event, and if there is a mystery, even better? It is the same for me these last few mornings, will I see her again? I speak of Amber the fox who adds to my excitement of getting up in the morning.
I think I am in love, if that is the right word. Can you be in love with a fox? It has only been the last few days the elusive creature has stayed around long enough for me to observe and photograph her. My friend thinks Amber is pregnant, so my imagination sees fox cubs running around my garden in a few months.
I love the floppy ears of Amber, her pensive sad and shy eyes. She is beautiful in a sort of magical way, fragile, naïve and caught between trust that she is safe and the wary nature of a creature living in a dangerous world. She desires the warmth of the sun rather than the cold darkness of her den situated I think behind the garden fence.
Since the two days I photographed her sitting in my garden, I look out for her. Yesterday she was not there, and I felt a twinge of loss. I saw her today sitting amongst the fallen branches of a conifer tree, watchful, that same enchanting expression. I feel her fragile presence, something small in the vastness of the universe, insignificant and tiny against the multitude of enemies arrayed to destroy her. If it is true that she carries fox cubs, it adds to the enchanting mystery, something waiting to manifest into the universe, little fox cubs that may one day play in my garden.
Concentrate on what is essential, nothing lasts.
Busy people running in circles, fail to see the essential in life.
As I sat in Colchester Castle Park I noticed a 3-year-old boy and his mother passing by. The boy in delight pointed to a spiderweb, but his mother busy with a smartphone ignored the boy. Many times the boy mentioned the spiderweb, and each time the mother ignored him.
Forty years from now I doubt mother or son will remember this spiderweb incident that I record. I doubt even if the mother will remember what it was she was doing on her smartphone at the time. It could be that the mother was dealing with an important matter on her smartphone when her son drew her attention to the spiderweb, but often as is the case with smartphones it was a trivial issue. What matters was an opportunity lost where mother and son could have shared a magical moment of delight in a spiderweb, a moment that could have stayed with the mother as a magical memory into old age.
Impermanence is a fact of life, nothing lasts, thus the smallest moments shared like between that mother and son become like treasure, sadly wasted to worthless distractions such as Facebook updates via smartphone.
The fox returns and I give it a name: “Amber.”
I have now called the fox in this photograph “Amber.”
The fox returned to my garden this morning, perhaps taking a liking for the warm sunny spot it enjoys sitting in. I have named the fox Amber, and it allowed me to take more photos of it.
The fox reminded me about a blog post I wrote more than a year ago about a book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery called “The Little Prince” which has an encounter between the prince and a fox on the subject of friendship. I purchased the book today described as follows:
“The Little Prince is now a legendary character, the symbol of a humanity that is responsible and generous, bringing a message of hope and fraternity, emblem of a spirituality that seeks out the essence of things, that which lasts, that which gives meaning.”
After two years of hunting I catch a fox with my camera.
After two years of frustration I finally photograph a fox, which appeared out of nowhere in my garden.
Nature is a shifting tapestry of life, often catching me by surprise with magical manifestations of wildlife that abruptly vanish before I can catch a brief record of its passing through my life. It is a matter of chance that I get lucky with my camera, and I was in luck today.
This morning a fox manifested in my garden. The fox sat looking at me, it had a forlorn look about it, but the fox was content to sit and watch me as it sun bathed in the warmth of a tranquil garden. I had my camera with me, so I made up for two years of frustration by firing off dozens of photographs of my elusive wary model. The fox made my day.
The cycle of life and death in nature.
A storm killed the parent tree last year in Colchester, its children live on.
In October last year I wrote about the loss of my soul mate an oak tree called the “Castle Tree” killed by a UK storm. I rescued thirteen acorns from around the fallen tree, planting them in pots hoping that I could salvage something from the death of the tree. In the last few days three oak saplings have appeared in the pots. I have witnessed the cycle of death and life via the “Castle Tree” and its children.