I remember FMD

I remember FMD (the Foot & Mouth disease outbreak in 2001, for friends overseas who are maybe not familiar with this dreadful episode).

Unlike this weekend, it did strip the fells of visitors for many weeks, and was a truly dreadful experience for all involved in the farming community. People were told to keep off the fells for the duration. We spoke with our farmer, and agreed with him just where we could walk our dog so we wouldn’t be seen and thus perhaps encourage others into thinking it was ok to cross barriers.

Over the weeks, the landscape changed. No people but us and the farmer out in our valley. Things grew, grass, flowers, silences. Wildlife proliferated very quickly, soon deer were down from the high fells and were often seen around the house (and in the garden). It became very lush. One day in woods above our house (the unwalked wild side of the Beck), I walked with  our dog, through a vivid carpet of bluebells in full and riotous bloom. I heard a curious drumming sound approaching through the thick wood, we stood back against a tree, and suddenly a rabbit shot out of the thicket and into the bluebells, closely followed by a large fox. The colour of the fox against the bluebells was one of the most intense colour experiences I have ever witnessed, a vision! It didn’t last long, the fox stopped in its tracks, looked hard at me in surprise, held in stillness for what seemed like an age, and then darted off obliquely into the thicket and the rabbit lived to tell the tale. if only I had a camera with me! A short interval in life which I will never forget and which has a significance beyond words. A benchmark for the life I have remaining.

Nature does rally and rebuild surprisingly quickly, people are not the truly dominant presence, and the world is achingly rich and beautiful beyond belief or credibility. I believe we should use such episodes as we are now living through as a lesson to be learned, a caution to our disdain for our world. Take the opportunity and never ever take our nature for granted, respect it and our lives are forever enriched.