Each year we see a fair number of woodmice with their Mickey Mouse ears, field voles with their small ears and short tails, and shrews with their pointed noses in our garden. Mostly, these are ones which our cats have caught while hunting in the adjoining field. Sometimes in the outhouse we have disturbed mice in the act of stealing seeds and nuts from my husband’s store of bird food.
Once, in the dead of Winter, from our vantage point in the room overlooking the back garden, we were fortunate to observe a weasel, as it combed the length of the stone-dyke wall adjacent to the field. Being a carnivore it was no doubt looking for a tasty mouse or perhaps a wren or some insects.
Another occasion, on a dark December evening, when we were sitting together in the room admiring a fresh fall of snow and the transformation it had made to familiar landmarks in the garden, a fox passed by the window, saw us watching him, and did a dog-leg before disappearing, as swiftly and silently as he had come, over the stone-dyke wall. This experience inspired our younger son to write about it.
Dusk settles on the land and nocturnal animals set out to hunt.
Night spreads its dark cloak and the stars shine like diamonds.
The leaves rustle as the hedgehog shuffles, searching for beetles and worms.
And the badger leads its young from the sett.
The owl silently kills the mouse as swift as lightning.
The moon casts a ghostly light upon the trees.
And the trees cast a shadow on the fox, as it stalks its prey.
Nightfall is a slow thing in the world.