After my previous blog I wouldn’t like you to think that nature is all about floating blossom or – perish la pensée – that I am in any way soppy when it comes to wildlife, so let’s have another revelation of the beautiful and extraordinary.
I was on my daily commute – 50 yards through the garden to the hut where I work – when a movement caught my eye. It was as if a small portion of the ground was stirring at my feet. I stopped to investigate and realised that half-a-dozen flies had just risen from the short grass as I approached.
They had vacated the item they were feeding on: and it was indeed a thing of beauty: slim, neatly-proportioned, gracile, fluently tapered, in the shape of a crescent: revealing a truth about the place that’s not always obvious. In short, it was the most elegant turd you have ever seen.
The beauty was more in the implication than the actuality. That’s because I knew who had left it there. The creature in question is also gracile and elegant: and a stoat. I see them around here every now and then, always by chance, moving across an open space in their bounce-pouncing way, their bodies far too long for a more conventional gait. The recent influx of rabbits will have pleased them more than it does me, but it’s likely to mean more stoats.
These secret signs – footprints, droppings, altered vegetation, abandoned items of food – remind us that all around there are secret lives being lived. This was a turd to rejoice in.