The mystery of Amber

Can you love a wild animal?

Amber the fox, happy to just be.

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.

The boy and spiderweb

Concentrate on what is essential, nothing lasts.

Busy people running in circles, fail to see the essential in life.

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 and a book

The fox returns and I give it a name: “Amber.”

I have now called the fox in this photograph "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.”

The humour of nature

Does nature have a sense of humour?

Are humanity only shipping containers for bacteria to colonise space like dandelion seeds ship out on the wind?

Are humanity only shipping containers for bacteria to colonise other planets, like dandelion seeds ship out on the wind?

Millions of years ago the T-Rex meat-eating dinosaurs might have hunted the ancestors of humanity; now, the T-Rex has evolved into a chicken and our ancestors into KFC-loving chicken-eaters.  Nature seems to have a dark sense of humour.

When I observe that life loves to go-forth and colonise, like dandelion seeds upon the wind, what if our planet is a living organism and has similar intentions of sending forth its own genetic code to colonise other planets? What if human beings, who consider themselves the superior life form on earth, are mere containers designed to ship bacteria off to other planets? It would be funny to think hubristic humanity is no more than shipping containers designed for shipping bacteria to other worlds, it would be typical of the sense of humour of nature.

Catching a fox

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.

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.

Greenshoots

The cycle of life and death in nature.

A storm killed the parent tree last year in Colchester, its children live on.

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.

Breakfast in nature

Share your life with nature.

A local squirrel enjoying breakfast of peanuts in my garden.

A local squirrel enjoying breakfast of peanuts in my garden as I enjoyed my own breakfast, both of us watching each other.

I attempt to share my life with nature at every opportunity, so this morning I enjoyed my breakfast with a squirrel.  I placed monkey nuts into a tub, left hanging on a tree in my garden.  The local squirrel found the nuts and attempted gymnastically to retrieve the nuts one by one.  We spent 15 minutes watching each other as we enjoyed our respective breakfasts, the squirrel in the tree and I sitting at a seat in the garden an arm’s length from each other.