A Regular Guest in the Guest House
Copyright 2021 by Janis Boguzs
Photo by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash
adore being close to nature, to get away from the city's rush.
Thereby I choose to go to one guest house, owned by my friends and
located in the middle of a national park. There can be enjoyed
everything there: relaxation beside the sea, late evenings under the
stars, all spectre of flora and fauna of nearby forest and the guest
house yard itself. Somehow my special feelings have grown towards
some hedgehog I have encountered there. Sharing these feelings here.
must rush… It is nearly high-noon. There has to be something.
I have to be the first one, I have to be there before her. What is
that? A small piece of meat? Have to taste it. What’s that
taste? Sour... a vinegar… a lemon? Yammy anyway… Oh...
Another piece. An onion… Tasty! No, I must rush further. I
must be there the first one. A human? Let’s take a longer cut
around that tree. Did he noticed me? I am safe. Let’s go…
I am nearly there!” If I was able to read the minds of animals
that would be something I heard from the small cute hedgehog running
to the compost-heap when I first encountered him.
compost heap is located in a guest house one central house and
several smaller a bigger to accept their guests. The guest house
itself is laid in the middle of nowhere for those, who are used to
bigger cities. There is a small village with several old, wooden
houses, but otherwise it is a beautiful country park. There are some
rivers with some trout, several beaver families and ducks enjoying
the water there. There are swamps with frogs, toads and snakes hiding
under fallen trees, and lots of insects living their lifecycles
around the swamp waters. There are forests – full of deer,
does, birds and even one bear. And there is the sea close enough to
hear, far enough not to see behind the trees; the sea – home
for flounders, gulls, seals and the source of salt for the animals
from the woods.
my main attention is cached by a small, cute hedgehog. Yes, exactly
cute… He has a cute nose always moving for new smells…
lovely eyes following the event happening around... white ears or
more precisely white area around the ears contrasting his otherwise
grey garment. And he is able to create so funny noises while running
around the territory area looking for food. But as cute as he looks,
he is well armed as well – with a cloak full of spines. Surely
there is a soft skin on his belly, but he is not willing to show it
to any close-comer, a spiny ball is to be met.
is food all around the area as there are people around. They eat and
drop some food on the ground. They do not eat everything, thereby
throwing out some things so tasty for the hedgehog. As all the waste
is recycled in that guest house, all the food waste goes right to the
compost heap. So it becomes the most reliable and constant source of
provisions there. All the potential diners can find there a full
spectre of food there – fruits and vegetables, dairy products,
egg-shells, fish and sometimes also a bit of meat.
stock grows more during summer as there are more guests, but it does
not vanish during winter as well. It might be important during a
really warm winter, otherwise the hedgehog does not care. He is used
to hibernate during winter finding a nice, safe and rather warm place
under the central house of the guest house, which is being heated all
the winter. Most likely the hedgehog uses the same cosy place also
during summer as it is so out of sight of others and so close to the
main source of food.
the life for this little creature is not always so relaxing here in
this place intended for relaxation. Surely guests at the holiday home
show enhanced interest in every living creature they can meet there.
And it is quite understandable as the most of them come from city
where they do not meet any besides their dog or pigeon on the
windowsill. It is nice if they are able to limit their interest with
following the hedgehog with their eyes. It is always interesting to
touch, to pet the nice little creature, even with spine on its back.
Surely adults commit this sin sometimes, but the smaller ones are
even more interested in the life of this cute animal.
even more – sometimes humans can be very clumsy and thereby a
danger for a peaceful life of a hedgehog. Me as well. I also like to
follow the activities of the hedgehog from a little distance by
trying to make some photos while avoiding going too close and
disturbing him. Still one encounter is something I will remember with
a great regret, while hopefully the hedgehog have forgotten that
after some days. To feel closer to nature, I enjoy staying in my tent
in the territory of the guest house a bit away from all the rest.
While going to the central house for an evening shower, I had to use
my flashlight as the night was dark as the depths of the deepest
ocean and even all the constellations above could not help me to
avoid the trees. When I was closing to the light of the central house
I decided to switch off my own light source and in that moment I
tripped on something and heard sulky chugs and saw something rolling
away. After turning my flashlight on again I realised it was the
hedgehog I had always adored. He seemed not to be physically harmed,
but continued his unsatisfied rhetoric. I still feel ashamed and
endure remorse of what I have done. Even if it was unintentionally. I
have seen him many times after again, so at least there was no
long-term harm done.
us – humans - there are some quadruped obstacles in the route
intended by the hedgehog. Some of the guests do not leave their dogs
in the apartment, but take them with themselves to enjoy the
adventures provided by the wild nature as well. As the dogs are not
used to meet somebody else than their family members – owners
and probably a cat or a hamster – and most likely the pigeon
sitting on the windowsill. Thankfully because of that the meeting
with a hedgehog is something between a live interest and some fear of
unknown, thereby it results in no touches, but a loud barking.
domestic animal the hedgehog might encounter is a permanent resident
of the guest house – an old cat. But mostly because of her age
and also because of everyday meals the cat has no interest of any
other creature. Or the reason might be that the cat sees the hedgehog
as another member of her family – the owners of the guest
house; or just another guest. All the interaction is limited to a
short look towards the direction, the hedgehog passes.
there is another guest that might be more dangerous than the others
(even more dangerous than me). It can be met more often than the
guests coming from the city and a bit less often than the two-legged
and four-legged creatures living or working at the guest house. It is
a ruddy fox. And this fox is not only cunning, but also bold (and of
course beautiful) and somewhat insolent. She has taken some bread
with all the table-cloth during the half-minute the hosts were not
present. I has stolen a skewer with the meat right from the grill and
run away in the nearby bushes not to share it with other barbecue
evening guest. She even has not been too shy to lick a mobile phone
of the person, who wanted to take a photo of this evening guest. And
yes, a fox is a predator, who is able to eat a hedgehog as well. But
probably because of the fox’s interesting adventures to get
some food it has not tried to hunt on the hedgehog. They are even
capable to have a common meal in the compost heap – their
regular source of provisions.
hedgehog was not seen for all summer, so were worried for the worst.
But an early autumn he showed himself again. Was he hiding from all the
guests? Was he exploring the nearby and further woods? Or was he
visiting his family or trying to establish a new one? We were worried
before, but now we are happy to see him again. Happy, as he has
become a member of our bigger family, even if nearly always keeping
have worked in public administration, but nowadays I paint on
t-shirts and other textiles. Previously I have prepared some written
parts for legislative acts and scientific articles, but I have just
started my way to be more creative in written form. I live near Riga, Latvia (the European Union).
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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