During the summer I spend a certain amount of time dyeing outside. I have to admit that I love it. I love listening to the sounds of nature as I go about mixing my recipes and applying the colour. I work in an area of the garden that is backed by planted shrubs and small trees. I usually face a wall as I’m working, so the birds and wildlife become used to my presence, but ignore me as I’m not actually meeting their eyes.
In June of last year I was working as normal when I turned, attracted by the sound of a mother blackbird being disturbed by a passing cat. However, the blackbird was not all I espied.
Quietly concealed, and not more than 30 feet from where I was working was a young fox cub. Relaxed, and not in the least wary, it watched me as avoided its gaze and went into the house to collect my camera. The above photgraph was taken using a digital camera with a rotating screen. The creature was unaware of the process from start to finish. I didn’t approach it, just left it to enjoy the sun, and continued with my dyeing.
Until about 5 years ago there was an old house near the bottom of our garden. It was grossly overgrown, and we knew that there was a foxes den somewhere in the muddle. Foxes passed through our garden, and occasionally we smelled the remnants of their presence! We could hear the rustle of their movements along the perimieter, but rarely saw them. Then the elderly residents of the property died, and the land was developed. What happened to the foxes? Well, I don’t know where they went, but it obviously wasn’t very far, probably into another nearby garden, but I know it isn’t ours.
I had forgotten all about this photograph until the spell of warm weather that we had the other week. Once again I was able to go outside and mix and match colours to my heart’s content. I’m not sure what attracted my attention on this occasion, but on turning around I espied an ear.
It might be difficult to make it out in this badly over-exposed picture, but I was going through the same process as before, and didn’t want to disturb the sleeping animal. However, it soon became apparent that the animal wasn’t in fact asleep.
No longer part of this life, the fox now lay there, bathed in the sunlight. Was it the same creature? How had it died? Had it been hit by a car and just limped to somewhere familiar to end its life? I have seen many mature foxes. This could have been the same one, its full potential not yet realised. Who knows? Will our lives be as fleeting? Will our impression on life be as obscure? At least the Foxy Whiskered Gentleman was imortalised with his Jemima Puddleduck, but we will never know the answers to any of the above questions.