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A Grave Beast Crosses My Path

 

victorian-cast-iron-grave-monument-lg

(image)http://www.cultofweird.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/victorian-cast-iron-grave-monument-lg.jpg

One sweltering day, which August sometimes keeps in reserve, I still desired a walk. However, there was no mad walk in the noonday sun for me. I waited until a semblance of evening appeared before I went outside.

It was to be a brief walk, twenty minutes or so. Through a graveyard, along city streets, crossing a pedestrian bridge over four lanes of traffic, then to ponder the broad river. After which, as slow a return.

As I walked through a historic graveyard (more than two centuries of the dead) I saw an animal deep among the grave stones. Larger than a cat, smaller than a dog. I went to investigate.

I was reasonably close when I realized it was a badger. Not a beast to toy with. They can be vicious, so I was careful to keep my distance. Feet and toes in sandals might be too inviting. The badger kept a close eye on me as we approached each other.

I reached the point where I had decided to go no further. When I stopped, the animal made a quick run and disappeared under a gravestone. It was a long stone, flat to the ground, covering the length of the grave. On closer inspection I noted burrow holes at either end of the stone. Entrance, and escape when necessary.

I had the desire to investigate further, but good sense – and the heat of the day – dissuaded me. I listened a moment for any rustle underground. To ascertain if there was any gnawing on bones. However, I wanted my own fingers and toes intact.

I left, pondering what its burrow might consist of.

DE

Picture Of An Early Bird Special

 

I saw a sight that I believe I have actually never seen, though it is fabled the world over.

Standing on the front stoop to test the airĀ  I saw a robin on the grass. Robins are rather skittish and usually, when a human presence is so close, it will make them hop (and they truly do *hop*) away. But this one stayed put.

My understanding is that birds ‘hear’ the worms under the earth – that is how they detect them. I assume that is why they so often have their head in a cocked position. However, for this robin, the listening part of the chase was over.

As I watched the robin made a strike into the earth with its beak. It was then that an almost cartoon-like image occurred. The bird had a portion of the worm in its beak and began to pull. It pulled and pulled and the worm stretched and stretched. It made me think of someone pulling a threaded needle from the fabric they were sewing. The length of the worm became even longer than the robin’s body. With this constant and slow tug, the worm finally popped out of the earth.

Then the robin had a go at it.

The bird took at the long, brown earthworm and began to snip off pieces with its beak. It could not have been more effective if it had a pair of scissors. Substantial, beak-sized pieces which it swallowed quickly. The long earthworm became shorter and shorter, giving the robin less to hold on to. In under two minutes the worm became one remaining morsel hanging from the robin’s beak. It was only then that the robin began to hop across the grass. The last piece of worm disappeared inside the robin and the robin quickly took off.

One satisfied predator.

One less worm.

DE

 


(image) http://robinloznakphotography.blogspot.ca/2012/02/early-bird.html

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