I spend much of my life living on the edge.
The edge of the built up world, bits of land where nature has been left to carve out a living amongst the cars and the concrete, the houses and the hum drum of human life.
At this edge lives an underwild, nature going unnoticed amongst our busy boring lives.
Below a local caravan park that sits on the cliff top, if you care to peek over the edge you just might see beyond the unremarkable and the find the remarkable - the fastest animal in the world– the peregrine, feasting on it’s favorite perching post.
These birds hunt out in the open estuary during the winter and then as Spring arrives they focus around the fields and town. More often than not it is a pigeon that has taken the birds attention and it’s feathers can be seen falling to the beach below, a carnivores confetti raining down to the rock pools.
The birds are safe here; this vertical world is a nature reserve by accident rather than human design.
An edge always worth exploring.
We all know a scrubland somewhere near us. Lands that represent an edge between a wild place, and a human one, but fitting neither description.
Perhaps the brambles and bushes will conquer the concrete to reclaim the space for the birds, butterflies, bees and lizards who bask in the warm spring sunshine, but an unambitious planning application will be all it takes to end the nightingales song and the bumbles buzz and see suburbia surge across this place.
Scrublands offer such rich pickings for the naturalist but they are edgelands that live in between a more constant existence, they have no home, vagrants of the natural world not knowing their future…..
At first glance parklands represent little opportunity for nature, a monoculture of grass, farmed for our fun, football and frolicking. But at their edges are areas we forget, ignored and unneeded. It’s here the interesting stuff lives if you care to look.
A rare slice of peace and quiet to dig your den, a home for your family.
Fox cubs emerge in the warmth of spring after 6 weeks under ground and these furry fun balls remind us better than any animal that the wild has adapted to our urban world, has accepted the scraps of our lives we don’t wish to control.
But as much joy as these animals of the underwild bring me, I don’t want to spend my life living on the edge, because one day, I’m worried that what I’m looking for, pushed too its last limits, may just have fallen off. Lost forever.
And my heart will have gone with it.