First Summer is lasting well. Yesterday lunchtime I drifted quietly through Pipley Wood. That is, it felt like quiet drifting to me; to the fauna of the wood it was no doubt the cacophonous lumbering of a clubfooted troll.
It’s a very small, sparse wood so the sight of a deer rocketing out of a copse some fifteen yards ahead of me gave me a start; you don’t expect to see wild animals much bigger than a badger in such places. The deer whipped through the hedgerow, across the lane and into Dave’s fields. It appeared grey and possibly a stag – I say ‘stag’ only because in that fleeting moment it seemed somehow muscular and male.
When we retell these little stories of wildlife encounters, it’s always tempting to beef them up a bit. It was huge. It went like lightning. Perhaps that’s because there’s a disconnect between how interesting they are to the listener and how important they are to us. For urbanites it’s a rare treat to be suddenly confronted with the fact of being human in a non-human environment; to feel a trespasser because of it; and to try to capture and verify a fleeting moment when relying solely on your senses, memory and grip on reality, without the benefit of the prerequisite source of modern truth, the video action replay.