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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Stopping by the woods

On a snowy evening
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.

Near the centre of town is a park called 'The Common' - 250 acres of unspoilt woods and heathland. 250 acres is really not that big; one can easily walk round the perimeter of the Common is about 45 minutes.

It's a lovely bit of land. MDH and I have spent many a happy tranquil hour walking through the Common, enjoying the sweet singing of birds and watching the squirrels play in the trees.

However, squirrels and birds aren't the only wildlife to be found in these woods.

MDH once met a man who had apparently been living in the Common with his family. In a tent. This extraordinary gentleman had come into MDH's hospital because he had cut his leg and infection had set into the wound. He didn't seem at all keen to stay for very long, so MDH gave him some antibiotics and sent him on his way, asking him to return in a few days time to 'see how he was getting on'.

Of course, he never came back.

But I'm amazed. MDH and I had thoroughly explored those woods and had never come across any sign of him before. And he had been residing undisturbed in the woods for at least three years! How did he get through the winters? It snowed quite heavily last winter. It reminded me of what Yann Martel said in Life of Pi:

"If you took the city of Tokyo and turned it upside down and shook it, you would be amazed at the animals that would fall out...crocodiles, piranhas, ostriches, wolves, lynx, wallabies, manatees..."

And so it would be with our little 250 acres of woodland.

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