Longlisted for the Write about Walking A/way competition 2023
She lay panting in the long grass. Her breath mists the evening air, as daylight squints into dusk, and fireflies strike their tinders, guiding the last rays of sun to nestle through the trees, and find a bed for the night A single wind turbine stands silent on top of the hill, arms wide, much like a cross on another hill a long time ago. A stream runs down to the woods, Every splash and ripple, a melody of wind and wilderness. Early rising stars rub sleep from their eyes and shuffle into position. Moles snout blind for worms up for air. The first bat squawks, testing its sonar. Owls preen their feathers ready to hunt, while the woodland loam shivers at the hint of a night-frost to come. She has come far. The sounds of horns, hooves, jaws, long behind. Relief she has led the blood-frenzy away from her babies. A mother's dilemma, of survival or sacrifice, weighs heavy as she looks up to see a shooting star cut a tear in the sky, before making its escape from unseen cosmic predators through the torn fabric of night. Padding cautious, her senses accept the safety of shadows, where she can sleep, wrapped in the curl of her brush; dream of the cubs and of her affinity to a speck of stardust, hoping it, too, has found rest this night.
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