Monday, 4 June 2012

The hedgehog way

Part of my new urban home involves walking.

It is not usual for me to meet people on my treks in the forest. So here I keep my walks to dusk and dawn.

My circuits take me to the edge of neat estates. An alley or a wynd spits me past a new lawn and children's toys. It must be an old road. The remnants of a track where sheep were driven into the city and stopped to munch on hawthorn, dead nettle, bramble and sticky willie erupting from the ditch.

Sometimes I pass through an old industrial lot. Nothing fancy. The pre-fab office shards its papery walls. Odd objects - an iron, plastic flowers - sit on what might have been desks or workbenches. White collar? Blue collar? All the same.

If I need to walk in the day I have found a path between double hedges in an older part of the town. Shrubbed houses. Lilac. Laburnum. All the aliens the Victorians bought. This space between the hedges circuits a number of houses these days. Then I suppose it was one big garden it hid.

The grass is long like the grass will be under the pines. In my wood on the hill back home. Thick with incongruous rape seed escapees, patches of forget-me-not and the fleshy leaves of foxglove. The thin overgrown path is topped with intergrown twigs. But some hard-working gardener must have been cutting it until very recently - twenty years back? - for it not to be entirely lost.

The grass is snaked with tunnels. Hedgehog paths especially where bluebell leaves still show. Seeking slugs.

I follow their ways at dusk and dawn.

Thanks to bdk for this photo

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