Frost

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I watch two foxes on a clear and bitter morning. They’re waiting for the sun to rise and warm them. One is shady and spacious in the base of a crab apple tree. The other is rude and lairy, rolling in the ice and kicking his black stockings like a pup. They rush and bolt in phases, but the game is distracted by a million tiny warnings. They find it hard to tune out and enjoy themselves. Because there’s the sound of a shepherd’s bike in the dim horizon; pause and listen. My neighbour is shouting on a dog and the sound rings in the stillness; ears cocked. I’d call it peaceful, but they can never let their guard slip.

I’d usually run for the rifle at times like this. But I’m indoors, sitting with my legs crossed on the windowsill. It’s not often I would pass up this kind of opportunity, but now it’s fine to see them flail in fits and starts; a secret couple frisking in the ice.

Golden-eyed and glaring, an owl moves vaguely into the long grass and begins to hunt. I remember that it’s time to get the day started.

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