That was late summer, early autumn, call it what you will.
Today the road is filled with leaves and there is a bite in the skies that makes everything feel that little bit more alive. That is nature’s paradox: it is more vivid and yet far more soothing than the world built of bricks and glass.
I’ve been indoors for much of the day, however, dealing with the final technical hurdles before getting my book on the ‘why and how’ of foxes uploaded onto Amazon. It’s now living here.
Books are more than paper. You close them, but they do not leave you. In a small way, a fox sighting can also be like that; it passes, but it has lodged itself in your mind.
One encounter that I will not forget gave me this photograph back in the summer. This vixen is known locally as ‘Pretty Face’, but whatever she calls herself, she is one of my favourite foxes. She is a non-breeding adult in the Horse Meadows Group – the family that call a large part of my parish their territory.
She had been playing, playing – auntie as she was that day to four cubs explosively alive in the evening sunshine. She washed them, she checked on them, she guarded them. I merely photographed them. Eight (yes, eight) foxes were in front of my camera; I will leave the total number of photos to your imagination.
There came a moment when she sat up, light painting gold highlights into her fur. She was watching me from perhaps 50 metres away. She had been aware of me for the past hour, but now, without a care in the world, she began trotting towards me.
At 15 metres she stopped, still studying me with quiet curiosity, standing at the crossroads of confidence and caution, before continuing her journey out of the field with relaxed aplomb.
Turn the page. The journey goes on.