Thursday, 11 August 2011

Our black and white stripey friends

Hello God.

What were you thinking when you created badgers?

Had it been a long day? I imagine that you'd been creating the animals for several hours and by the time you got to the badgers, you moved to a new level of creativity and decided that unusual was the order of the day. You were bored of ordinary. Bored of the average. A long black and white stripey nose was the very thing for this new type of creature. Let's distinguish him from all the normal-looking animals. Let's give him a touch of the comical. Let's call him 'Badger'. Or did you name them all in Latin? 'Let him be known as Meles meles.' And, behold, it was so.

The other night there were two badgers in our garden snuffling about and digging up divots of turf, and I had the chance to watch them for a good half hour. They had triggered the outside lights and so they were beautifully floodlit but they didn't care. They snuffled and sniffed and dug and probed (they must have tough noses as they were using them to dig bits of garden baked hard by the sun). I watched them for a long time. As luck would have it I even happened to have a cup of coffee in my hand when I discovered them so I had refreshment as well as a ringside seat.

Beautiful, strange, surprisingly large creatures. I'd always thought of a badger as a smallish, cutish sort of animal, but Mr and Mrs B from the other night were by no means dainty. Big dog sized, though with short stumpy legs. They could get a move on when they wanted, though, their little flappy tails waggling as they shambled off to destroy another area of my lawn. I'm not going to go into the downside of badger occupation; suffice it to say that I'm quite glad that they're just visiting rather than setting up home in my garden; I suspect that being permanently embadgered might bring about certain inconveniences, but to sit in your kitchen for one night with a coffee and watch them being badgers (and then going away again) was just wonderful.

It was a special, enchanting half hour. I tried to take a photograph as they were so close but my camera couldn't focus in the dim light, or at least I imagine it might have, if I'd known which setting to use, but I didn't, and I didn't want to risk the flash going off and cutting the show short.  So all I could do was sit with my coffee and watch the badgers.

I want to notice things. I don't want to miss anything that you want to show me. I spent time the other night trying to get the camera to work, but I think that you just wanted me to sit and watch and simply have it in my head rather than on the computer. I said to you some time ago that I wanted to notice, and understand and communicate the things that I'm learning. The wonder of you, whether the beauty of your creation or something that you say, something that I read, or hear or realise. Something surprising, or confusing, or wonderful or interesting.

There have been a lot of things so far this year and Mr and Mrs Badger doing their thing not ten feet away from me the other night was one of your little marvels.


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