Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Furtive lawn travellers

From Thomas Hardy's poem, Afterwards:

If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm,
When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn,
One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should come to no harm,
But he could do little for them; and now he is gone."

I have always loved that description of the hedgehog travelling furtively over the lawn - it conjures up the reality perfectly for me. :0)

Today, after a day of storms and showers yesterday and a night of rain, everything is cold and fresh and wet. This morning the grass in the garden is populated with slugs and snails venturing out from underneath the sheltering plants.

I watched a large snail traversing the patch of mown, and it brought to mind a gyspy vardo making its way down a green lane, pulled by a slow grey horse: not a bow-top I mean, but one of those big angular ones, wider at the roof than the floor. The snail moved along in something of the same way, making what speed it could before it caught the eye of a blackbird on patrol looking out for furtive lawn travellers.

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