Foxing along the riverbank, you two orange drops stop still at the scar that leads to the water. Lowering your heads, take a deep draw of matter through your nostrils; this cleaved soil is where all the scents of the hill fall from its westerly face before hitting the water. The cold hangs low just here, sunk into the light on the edge, trapped between cracked willows. Much of it smells of duck.
Everywhere you turn, my eyes look to what you are interested in. I want to protect those things, for them and for you. We are all running with them, in flows.
The moorhens are struggling to hide from you: one is quiet beneath the fallen willow. There are the tiny beings we both cannot see, even with your amber cat-like eyes, drifting without and within. You can smell them, they are now in your blood; raise your noses in nods to the big, open sky.
But you aren’t bothered about the moorhens, are you. You might be if they were injured, or old. There will be young here in a few weeks time. This scar gathers new blood way below the brick and glass houses sitting on the ridge with their oil tar road; a bleak spine on the way to Mordiford.
Meanwhile, where the warm January rains scour into this red sandstone point source, you continue to cross it with little leaps on your padded paws every day. Weave your scent ribbons together in the air, nose all the mallards out from reeds into a wide, silver Wye-flow. It is a meeting place, of hunter and hunted, and all the lives that support the moment.
Further on, near the railway bridge, you meet a concrete edifice, where that human spine has twisted down to the water’s edge and the strip gardens have evaporated. The river is supposed to be protected from mortgages and building contracts. Yet they are poured and bolted here to blunt your linearity. Who gave them consent? You never did. Nor the willows, nor the mallards, nor the moorhens.
Out-foxed, you are forced back along the riverbank from where you came, and all the food has vanished. And that is your daily trouble. Where to go next? You are both quite thin.
My whole house now smells of fox. Your den, of hunger.