I confess to being somewhat ignorant on the subject of Taxidermy. Mainly because I’ve never experienced that. I am also ignorant on the subject of death because, obviously, I’ve not done that yet either.
The stuffed badger (I’ll call him “Lucky”)* sits proudly on the mantle piece in The Tap Room at The Badger Inn. Lucky sees everything. He hears all of the conversations. He is even the subject of some of them.
The Badger Inn, Church Minshull, where you can find Lucky.
No one knows how long Lucky has been there. Lucky doesn’t know either. It’s been a while though. His fur is dusty and his feet hurt. Aside from that, he loves his lot in life. People come and go. There is laughter and discussion and Hazel O’ Connor’s “Will You” is playing in the background at a barely audible level.
Lucky or not, he’ll be warm in the winter.
People hardly ever come to see Lucky. He’s just there. It will get warm soon. Too warm sometimes, once those two legged people put logs on the fire.
Soon there’ll be gifts on the tree, it surely will be a time to rejoice in the good that we see.
Except Lucky only has one viewpoint. No one spins him right round, baby, right round. Not even for a change of scenery. He’s just there. He spends his days staring through the medieval window beyond which there is a graveyard, bathed in the fading light of a mid Autumns’ afternoon. Headstones reaching out of the turf, the crystals within the granite blinking away like so many stars in clear nights’ sky.
Like the good hosts they are, they show their eternal guests the Sun and the Moon, the Mist and the Dew, The Rain and the Snow. Year upon year without fail, they show.
They show this without passion or prejudice because, afterall, they are just stones. They’re not even Rolling ones either. But The Earth knows. She knows she is older than Lucky, her age to us is unimaginable. She is older than the stones and their guests She is most definitely older than Lucky.
Each stone hides secrets. A life lived and ended, be it long or short, of memories, aspirations, disappointments, joy and regret all in equal abundance.
Should we honour the planet as we honour our dead?
Lucky knows that all of them, himself included, truly were lucky. They lived. They were given a gift by chance and they were able to view some beautiful sights.
They saw The Sun and The Moon, the Mist and The Dew, The Rain and The Snow. Year upon year they saw this all.
Until, finally, they came to their resting place.
Lucky was just glad he was in the warm.
I’d like to think the moral of this tale of observation (with a smidgeon of poetic licence thrown in, of course) is… The Earth will be here a lot longer than we will. Respect that shit.
Have faith knowing that the lump of rock you live on will outlast this building.
*I called him Lucky because he wasn’t shot by an angry farmer or culled. And he’ll be warm now the winter nights are drawing in.
PS – For those interested : https://www.league.org.uk/about-us