South Harting june 3rd

I haven’t been here for a few weeks now and I can tell the difference as I stroll along the path into the down. The recent hot weather and showers have helped the Dog roses and blackthorn to grow into the pathways lending a green shine as the sun bores through their canopy. As I walk further the path becomes darker under the Yews; my foothold more slippy as the sun cannot dry out the mud under here. Above the wind is whipping the trees back and forth to give the occasional bright flash of light before the canopy closes again.
At the bottom of the trail I scatter rabbits left and right, they haven’t heard me coming because of the wind. I stand and watch as they run, tails bobbing. The sky is open here, clouds scud across leaving fast weaving shadows of shade and light across the three lush green valleys that intersect here. I climb a bank to sit on top of a small hill to see further, across on the other valley slope are two deer. One is resting half in shadow and the other is grazing. I stand and watch for minutes, they appear not to have seen me. I sit and watch the wind sending tree blossom and leaves across the valley floor. Then I see two more deer; slowly moving across left to right. I lie back to watch the clouds racing over my head, the noise of aircraft and the distant road subside.
I wake up.
Grazing to my left is a baby rabbit, maybe 15 feet away, totally unconcerned by my presence, it continues to feed as I slowly stand up and stretch myself. I decide to see if the deer are still on the opposite bank, they are but now there are four. Big beautiful and red brown, two lying down and two feeding. Bright and bold in the sunshine. In late autumn I’ve heard the bucks braying here but never seen one, today I get to see what beauties they were calling to.
Its time for me to go, I begin my walk back again scattering more rabbits, some bigger ones this time, one sits beneath a thorn bush, pressing low into the ground and I gently walk away to not frighten them further.
Walking up the hill, back into the shade and cool, I stop to catch my breath and admire the rust coloured yews when I hear a snuffling, a rustling. There at my feet a baby badger is scouting the new undergrowth, feeding on whatever lies there. I can’t somehow believe this, I stand mesmerised as it rushes back and forth, creating its little path, I could reach down and stroke it, its that close. I’ve seen badgers before but I’ve had to work hard for the pleasure, this is incredible to have it playing around my feet searching for food. I introduce myself, seems so impolite not to when I am part of its dinner table, it stops, sniffs and then runs to hide behind a tree. This is comical; I can still see its body sticking out behind the tree. I leave, taking in the dog roses twining around the trees and waving in this late spring wind.

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