Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Extract from "Snowena"

She misses. I bite my tongue so she won’t hear my curse except as a faint whisper on the snow-heavy wind. She’s accepted the hide I film from, but she’s not eaten since yesterday morning. And I didn’t realise how much I was willing her on to a successful hunt this time.

She licks her paw, disdainfully, as if to distance herself from her failure, as a domestic cat might. I watch her. Gorgeous snowy-grey thick fur with clear black markings that blend in with the mountainside, the fur-padded, clumsy-looking paws somehow graceful when she runs, the long, long tail, balance-keeper as she hunts over ragged rocks.

I’ll have to return to camp soon, but while she’s still here I can film. It took six months to find her. I don’t want to lose her now.

She has a cave further up. It’s tempting to kill a mountain goat and leave it for her but that would do more harm than good. She needs to hunt. Each failure is practice. Each failure a chance to try again. Each success buys a few more days of precarious life up here in the Hindu Kush. Evolution made her a specialist, otherwise the mountains would have become over-run with goats devastating the little vegetation that grows and turning this rocky outcrop into an inhospitable wilderness.
Amazingly people choose to live here too. Goat herders mostly who stick with the only life they’ve known for generations instead of seeking an easier, but unfamiliar life in the city. I guess we’re all creatures of habit.

I couldn’t do it. Those shacks made from timber, mud and thatch are precariously balanced on the mountainsides and always look as if they are about to collapse. At least I know my tent’s temporary. How those guys actually live here... I watch them too. The women are up first, sweeping out, watering and feeding the domestic animals and getting water for the day. Breakfast is made and eaten, then the herders, wrapped in layers and hats, move their goats out onto the pastures, moving up and down the mountain with the seasons. They’ve seen a lot too. This area’s been fought over by the Taliban and Northern Alliance and has been used as routes to distribute opium. No wonder the villagers always look fearful, as if death might tap them on the shoulder at any moment.

There was a kafuffle this morning. One of the domestic goats had been attacked and coats of others clawed at by some wild animal. The villagers blame the snow leopard they know we’re trying to film. I don’t think it’s her though, but don’t have the language to tell them or explain. But they need to know what is terrorising their animals so will name the snow leopard because they know she’s there.

Further reading in “Gentle Footprints.”

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