the bear, the raccoon, the duvet and the rustle

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Crisps, some hard boiled ‘sucky’ sweets for the journey. A packet of biscuits, half eaten; mini cookies actually (very nice). Some chocolate; bite size for quick application whilst driving. These were the contents I could recall were in the bag.

Rustle, rustle, rustle…

That stage between sleep and wakefulness is a curious one.

I’m in a cabin in the woods. It’s the early hours of the morning. I lie still and listen.

There’s something in the kitchen of our cabin. It sounds like it’s working its way through these contents? Delicately but confidently. An animal picking through our carrier bag with food.

I lie as still as I can. What to do? Make a noise? Scare it away? What if it’s an unscarable animal? Are there such creatures? At 4am, or whatever, there most certainly are! I do the brave, manly thing and ease the duvet closer to my chin. It’s a well known fact bears don’t like their food duvet wrapped.

Rustle, rustle, rustle…

My imagination runs riot. I could take on a squirrel, I thought. But then, what if I freak it out? I’ve been in a room with a spooked bird before and it’s frantic. What does a squirrel do when it’s scared?

Rustle, rustle, rustle…

How big is a raccoon? They have them hereabouts I think? Are they quick? I’ve never seen one up close and panicked.

I can hear my breathing and the rustle. Nothing else.

It stops.

I listen intently for the animal making it’s means of escape. But nothing. I’m hoping for a clue as to the egress point. But nothing. I listen more. But nothing.

My alarm goes off. 7:15. I awake.

Our bag is how we left it. No crumbs on the floor. No torn packets. No animal droppings.

It wasn’t a dream, but… there are leaves on the ground outside my cabin window I notice. The window between me and the kitchen.

Imagination is wonderful isn’t it? At 7:30 am it is anyhow. Less so at fourish.

the joy exposed through presence

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We’ve been for a walk this morning. Through woodland, around lakes, past meadows.

Nature is glorious.

A little red backed beetle scuttling across the path in front of us, speeding on his way at a pace seemingly unfit for stoney terrain and his diminutive proportion. A swan family with six brand new cygnets wafting gently across the water, staying close, staying safe. A robin resting on a gate post, observing our approach with head cocked, inquisitive and remarkably trusting. A heron majestically soaring above a copse, with just the odd beat of its wings, on the search for an impromptu meal. Cowslip reaching up through long grass and nettles to peek at the sun. A long since fallen tree, performing a new role in its deadened state, home to moss, fungus, a myriad of insect life. Water on a lake, gently gliding left to right, the merest ripple inspired by an unfelt breeze. A lively chiwawa, out for a stroll with its owner, racing ahead, standing proud and telling us what’s what, with a big dog syndrome beyond its stature. Little fluorescent blue dragon flies flitting in staccato jerks beside our path. An unseen fish, stealing a morsel from the watery surface, leaving an expanding story of ripples. A coot, nesting beneath a swooping bough, preening and tidying, busy and private.

Being present in our world is such a privilege.