Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Close Encounter



I had the most fantastic walk today. Having had to stop working on my latest portrait commission earlier than normal due to a migraine, I went out with Murphy to try to clear my head.

There was a cold, fresh wind coming off the sea as we parked the van near the beach between Thorpeness and Aldeburgh and headed inland on a track between marshland and some meadow fields. On this land there are a small herd of wild Exmoor ponies which have been brought in from the West Country. They are used to help manage the surrounding heathland areas and a few have been wintering on this land with their foals. So rare, there are fewer of these in the world than Giant Panda, they are exceptionally beautiful animals and I love to see them whenever I can. Realising they were close to the track up ahead I was creeping slowly along so as not to disturb them too much and to get as close as I could.

In my peripheral vision I saw something move in a stand of scrub close to the path. I thought at first it was another dog but as I got nearer I realised it was a large fox. Surprisingly it didn't just scamper away as I would expect but waited in the undergrowth as I approached. I continued slowly forward expecting her to disappear any moment when amazingly she slowly got up and stepped onto the path in front of me. She was about 10 feet away, I slowly crouched right down and kept a hold on Murphy's collar and the fox actually stepped a little nearer before Murphy barked and the fox nervously headed back into the undergrowth.

She didn't go far and as we approached her again she stood her ground until we were quite close before entering the field on the other side of the hedgerow and tracking along beside us. I could see in the trees there was a fairly fresh looking earth and perhaps she had some cubs in there and was bravely trying to lure us away.

I like to think though, as daft as it sounds, that perhaps she thought Murphy was another fox. Like the one in the photograph here, she had quite a tawny red colouring, almost identical to Murphy, particularly the brush and the markings around the face, who knows.

After a while she went into the meadow with the ponies, just sitting and staring at us as we walked away. This was such a magical encounter, I almost forgot about my headache. 

2 comments:

Galaxy6139 said...

Brave fox ^-^ how lovely the mother is (T.T) Please don't harm them...

Deb said...

Peter,

Discovered you on the ArtandSoul site - I was immediately drawn to your work because I am an artist who is fascinated with the Wild West.

I love this post ... isn't it amazing how a walk with nature can inspire us?

Fabulous art!