I am an early riser. I like to get up from bed at the same time as the sun rises above the woodland horizon over out in the east. Gently I fling open my windows to take in as much of the stirring newness of the morning air as I can, while admiring that inimitable and personal quietness veiling through the world, as if it were whispering into my ears that the tranquil unsounding only belonged to me and no one else.
Our home is close to the enchanting English countryside, but we still live in the town and that is why I reserve our fertile and beautiful garden as a room in itself – albeit a roofless and breathing room – to which I feel the greatest connection to. It is my most cherished part of my home. So, care to imagine how my eyes widened and mouth fell agape when, this morning whilst I was busily brushing my teeth, that I should chance upon my first ever sighting of a fox in our back garden! Furtively prowling down the bosky path that cut through the middle of the garden, this magnificent Mr Foxy wore a ravishing reddish-brown furry coat, he had a set of pointy ears that stuck out of his inquisitive face and from which a dignified and sharp nose protruded, and a buoyant tail bobbed from behind him which I noticed possessed a tip as white as snow. When he turned round and stared at me, the vigorousness of the black that dwelled in his eyes came at me without warning. I, in that moment, could not have received a more lucid testimony to his wild origins. This was a creature of stealth, famed equally for his notorious pestilence as he was for his cunning trickery, an untameable and opportunistic predator, and the bane of all farmers everywhere.
When his eyes locked onto mine this morning all thoughts of my civilised life vanished. I am not quite sure why or how he managed to expel out of me all those measly pressing concerns of the day. The entire unfolding of the morning had paused itself, or so it seemed, leaving a strange duet in mid-air purified from all reason and utterly wordless.
Mr Foxy stared.
I stared back.
He stared back some more.
The time was precisely 6.09am (BST) and I do not know what fancy caught the grip of my imagination but I wished desperately that by making note of the time I would somehow coerce a satellite to orbit over that patch of sky precisely below my garden so that someone would have the means to document this unshakeably curious encounter!
With toothbrush stranded inside my mouth I was about to rush away from the window to fetch my camera, but Mr Foxy had already leapt miles in front of my plotting thoughts and had made a swift dash down the path, casually brushing his bushy tail past the watchful figurine of Mr Peter Rabbit before disappearing into the dense shrubbery amassed at the far end of the garden. I was terribly fizzled when my squinting eyes could no longer make out his alluring coat of reddish-brown. He had melted into the mess of green swathes.
Fumbling with the backdoor lock I stepped into the cool climate of early morning silence, only sliced clean as a company of adorable sparrows and finches hurriedly flew out of the leafy nestles of my green gage plum tree. I dashed down to the bottom of the garden and when I got there I found that there was not a single morsel of a sign to say that just moments ago a most fascinating and stunning creature, a child of raw wilderness, had fleetingly appeared before my eager pupils.
The mystery that was left in the wake of my departing and handsome stranger did not simply just linger in the air, it only ripened itself and amplified. I inspected the reinforced fencing and could not for the life of me figure out how my surprise visitor had even made entry into our garden in the first place. Judging by the tall height of the wooden planks that bordered every side of the garden there was no chance of an animal like a fox to jump over it – even the neighbour’s cat cannot pull that feat! I scratched my chin in deep thought and walked back to the house. The sky had already brightened by many magnitudes without my realising it. The houses began to be drenched in dawn sunshine. I, however, was still in the pitch dark as to the question of his visitation. It did not cause discomfort, rather it poured into my heart an uncustomary light of delicious tension, as if it were that my four-legged fellow symbolised the sanctity of abiding by that code of readership whereby chapters of a story are never skipped and then returned to, but followed patiently in the order as given by the author. All that I could do was joyfully accept that this first sighting of Mr Foxy in the plush paradise of my garden constituted the thrilling words of a new chapter.
Alas, I have no photograph to show You of my transient visitor. I reckon he was astute enough to know that if he were photographed the unalloyed mystique of his appeal would not be the same. It would be sobbingly diminished. What a clever chap, I must say! However, what I do have for You, in place of his portraiture, is a dandelion seed head. On first inspection it does not pop out any differently to all the other dandelion seed heads in my garden and I would not hold it against You if You were to think nothing of it.
But, then again, there are things called stories and they have the power to conduct magic into whatever they touch.
When Mr Foxy made his abrupt haste down the garden path his reddish-brown body brushed past the dandelion seed head. At that breakneck speed it would have been reasonable to think that all the fine feathery parachutes that cloistered closely to form the recognisable globe of the young dandelion plant would have dramatically come apart and scattered into the anonymity of the air around it.
It did not. He left no trace of himself in the things that ought to have been affected by the slightest of his movements. Why would he? He is a clever fox. He knew perfectly well that I was a Storyteller and now that You have come to the end of these words You, too, have caught a fleeting glimpse of my morning enigma, a dawn peep of a desired autumn… ♥♥♥
Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | My Garden | Winchester | UK 2016