Foxes of Medway

I’ve always gone for walks at night.  Walks during the day are nice, but I feel so much more at home with the creatures of the night–owls, tree frogs, bats, raccoons, nighthawks, and my new nocturnal companion, the fox–than I do with the animals who wake with the sun.

Foxes are vermin here, hanging out in the trash bins, so people don’t get too excited about seeing them.  Of course they’re novel to me, as big as dogs, and much slower to scurry away than a possum or raccoon.  They always look right at you too, almost like a deer.

I’ve finally found a night walk in Gillingham that doesn’t involve dodging ready-to-puke drunks or ready-to-brawl clumps of young, single Russian men ripe from the pub.   In Darland, a lofty neighborhood in upper Gillingham, I’m afforded a gorgeous view of lights in the valley below, and in the last few nights, a balmy breeze while walking along Kingsway Road.   I’ll leave out the part about how, the first time I visited Darland, an orange cat came running right up to me and sort of leapt into my arms.   To avoid being the cliche cat lady sans cat, I won’t talk about how I go back to that street now for a repeat rondezvous.  Once, I was told that I had too many cats in my writing. Maybe now and then it was ok, but one had to be careful with cat appearances.   Of course my teacher was right.  So…how about some foxes?  Cats just sprinkled in?

It doesn’t seem like there would even be room for all the foxes I’ve seen in my new neighborhood.  It’s weird to see a large feral animal in such cramped quarters.  It’s strange to see anything, especially something nearly the size of a coyote, just emerge from nowhere.  It’s almost as if they must slip between a crack in the scenery, cartoon-like, after finding some dinner.

There are paths, I think, leading down from Kingsway, and I might go check them out tomorrow.  I still miss the enormous oaks and pines of Virginia–such a radically different landscape–but I’m starting to bond with the smaller trees here which look like overgrown scrubby monsters in the dark.  In the mist tonight above the valley, lights of the town below, the blob-like trees/shrubs covered with an extra, almost hairy layer of green, seemed as if they must begin to walk as soon as everyone’s gone to bed.   I love the thought of them now, back here with the abandoned council flats and kebab stands.  Along the edge of the hills they might shuffle through grasses long past midnight, then stop just as pink spreads out along the streets.

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