Six year old girl, blonde hair, green eyes, hovers over a dead body. Her first dead body. There is no rule book for this situation, there was no picture book to tell her what to do or prepare her for this.

My sister, two years younger, had run away at the sight of the rusted fur but something tied me to the fox. Its body lay sprawled at the base of a horse chestnut tree. One of many that made up our wood; the envy of classmates who dreamt of tree houses and conkers.

Above, in the protective canopy, white and pink candles proudly declared Spring’s presence. I remember the man we found in our driveway staring at the waxy peach cones, amazed, full of questions about this abnormality. Questions we had no answers for, this was just how they grew, with their darker, smaller leaves and empty spiny shells that disappointed our friends. They had expected the rich smooth gift of a conker.

A glassy eye blinked. A muscle reaction I would later find out.

I stood watch over the body; chestnut tail, russet body, milky ruff and charcoal tipped ears.

There was no blood. The small creature lay seemingly as peaceful as a cat basking in the sun. It was not the fox I feared, it was not the death I feared, but I did fear leaving it alone. It felt wrong to witness death and walk away.

We buried it, my Dad and I, under a beech tree. Near the family pets but not so close that the fox would terrorise the guinea pigs, the chickens or the cats in the afterlife.

One thought on “Untitled”

  1. Dear Helen,

    How beautyfull. And as always…how perfectly fitting.

    A quick hello and catch up…even tho not in touch u know u r in my heart. It was a challenging summer…rite now I’m one surgery and one procedure in to fix my locked knee…which blew up and stopped bending somewhere early August. I’ve had a bit of a hopeful afternoon here on my own doing PT today after a rollercoaster of days these last few weeks…also read a book just this aftarrnoon that crossed my path on how to heal our own scar tissue, which I believe is at the root at this point (even tho the surgery removed a tumor, repaired 2 badly torn meniscus tears ad well as removed a going amt of damaged synovial tissue (which I trust will rejuvenate)…I still think some long built up scar tissue is preventing proper healing right now).

    I’ve just come out to the terrace to put some moist heat on it after some pretty agressibe massage before I head back in to a other round of trying to get me knee to bend even a little more and enjoy some sun…and OILA…ur post was waiting for me. After sitting with a dying possum beginning of summer in my front yard and then taking him out to my back yard after she passed to lay to rest under a tree….ur sharing made me weep. I agree ..it doesn’t seem right to walk away from death.

    I continue to keep faith the universe has me exactly where I am supposed to be right now, even if feeling I am at a complete and total standstill…I promised god I was back to trusting them again when I began my manuscript almost 2 yrs ago now…I continue to stay there…even tho just before my leg locked upy editor asked for more time since her laptop crashed and she had an unexpected move to tend to. Thank u for ur help.

    How r u doing sweetheart. I’d love a catch up and fill in. I hope u r well…and healthy…and that summer was good to u.

    I’ll write again soon. Thinking of u. Sending love.


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