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Drawing the line

A hedgehog house with a cat-proof entrance, dry and with leaves, October 2023
building a hedgehog house

Our home is surrounded by a rich tapestry of wildlife. Predominantly, cats make their presence known, but they share the stage with blackbirds, jackdaws, pigeons, magpies, the occasional dogs, and, I hope, hedgehogs. Observing these creatures offers a profound mirror to my own existence, prompting introspection and the existential query, “Who am I?” The stark contrast between us is immediate: they are adorned with tails, feathers, and beaks—attributes I lack. Often, we overlook these differences, but with a mindful gaze, the enchantment of the animal kingdom unveils itself. This mystical allure has not escaped the notice of artists throughout history, whose renditions of fauna are as captivating as the subjects themselves.

Our human-centric world sometimes blinds us to the perspectives of our avian neighbors. We fail to consider how a bird perceives a house devoid of nooks for nesting, or how our paved paths deny blackbirds the joy of unearthing worms. Have you ever contemplated a cozy refuge for a hedgehog braving the winter chill? I have endeavored to provide such a sanctuary. Though I’ve yet to spot a hedgehog taking up residence, I remain hopeful that the shelter I fashioned last autumn has served its purpose. Once, a diminutive hedgehog caught my eye, its size belying the resilience needed to endure the winter. Perhaps it managed to forage enough sustenance before the cold set in. Last summer’s drought drove the snails into hiding, disrupting their life cycle and, consequently, the hedgehogs’ food supply.

While my affection for these wild beings is boundless, I must draw the line at leaving cat food out for the hedgehogs, as it would inevitably attract a host of other creatures. These animals, wild as they are, operate without regard for human concerns. Inviting chaos is not on my agenda; scattering birdseed might seem benign, but it can lead to unwelcome rodents seeking refuge in your living space, much to the delight of predatory felines. Such encounters are far from amusing to me, hence my garden remains a birdseed-free zone. By drawing this line and respecting these boundaries, we contemplate our role in shaping the world, honor the wild, and learn to coexist with grace.

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Johannes Fraaije
Johannes Fraaije
25. Apr.
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The deeper meaning of ...Hedgehog

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