Tonight I stood in the long wet grass and noticed the marks of my path.  The flattening of the overgrown lawn was obvious in the super saturated dampness. Mine were not the only marks.  The cats also left marks in the grass, their paths were hard to spot until their usual holes in the hedges gave them away. They are creatures of habit.  Another set of marks stood apart from the cats, and mine.  These marks skirted around the edge of the cottage boundary.  The path marked entering; following around the edge of the hedge, around the edge of the apiary, then back out through the hedge.  The sly fox.

The air was full of the smell of wood smoke and moisture.  I peeled off my head torch and shone it under one hive, then the other.  To my eye there were no piles of dead bees, just a few bodies; summer bees destined to sacrifice themselves for their sisters.  I hefted the two hives which still felt heavy enough to me.  In theory, and in faith, they should still be a living ball of life, slowly burning there way through the winter supplies. They say that winter losses are to be expected.  As I am just an amateur I am trying to prime myself for the worst.  I would like to be the pessimist who takes delight in the world when it is turning out as everybody else expects it.

As I lingered beside the silent hives I looked at the gibbous moon trying to peak through the clouds and the thick wood smoke began to beckon me in when I spotted another line in the grass. It took me a few minutes to look around and confirm, and eliminate, my own wanderings.  I could not ignore it, there it was as plain as day; a track of the same nature to that that hugged the edge of the hedge.  Only this one peeled away from the boundary at the apiary and headed in a perfect straight line to the hen house.  That sly fox; that bold fox.

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