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This morning I am up at cockcrow, not unusual for me because being a nurse in my conventional life, I am used to it and find it hard to sleep on. Years and years of getting up at five thirty and cycling to the station for the train are embedded in my brain.

Often on those still dark mornings I meet the fox, a silent shape trotting confidently past my moving bicycle, so close I could touch her, We do not greet each other in human terms but nod silently in respect, both understanding the need to be out early to earn our daily crust.

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Six am

All is calm

All is bright.

The childly houses

(though maybe not so calm)

are lit by christmas tree’s.

small figures and drowsy parents

silhouetted against  the curtains

the family dog, let out on the lawn, is sniffing foxy smells,

growling at the undergrowth

peeing on the leafless thorny rose beds

the front door opens

light escapes and rushes down the cobbled drive way

come in Fido/Jessy/Milly

the light retreats

And millys capering form now joins the flying wrapping paper

and leaping children.

all other houses are still in darkness.

a car lights on the roundabout

(a nurse maybe)

the one who drew the short straw or was off  last christmas and whose turn it is to wear a christmas hat and bring good cheer to the sick.

it could have been me.

old habits die hard

thats why I’m up this early

and catch the familiar shape of a skinny fox trotting fearlessly, silently down the empty road

tonight after the fun and games

I’ll leave the turkey carcass out

for her.