Phil hangs out in the kitchen, always in the same place. I only noticed him there last week, hanging off the wall, low down. This morning I stooped to check him out and he stretched a long, thin leg towards me then drew it back. He was sucking the juice out of a small fly.
Perhaps it was a stroke of luck I hadn’t named the black, bristly wild pig who lived in the back paddock after someone had caught him near Shannon. Only the size of a small dog when he first arrived, he grew rapidly and grew friendly just as fast. He’d run laps around the paddock, going hell-for-leather apparently for the sheer fun of it. When I opened my back door he’d come bolting over to fence, squealing and grunting, and I’d go over and scratch him behind the ears; he’d squint his little eyes and stand perfectly still, drooling slightly. Even when he was almost a full-grown boar he loved his scratch.
I came back from an overnight trip to a hut in the Ruahine to find him gone, nothing left except a black bristly tail and a pool of blood in the killing tray. I think it would have been harder if I’d named him, the same way I now can’t sweep Phil away in a bout of weekend cleaning. Phil’s relatives occupy other corners too, and I don’t begrudge them the space. The house seems more like a home when it’s not just mine.
Pete lives in the Pohangina Valley, on the edge of the Ruahine range in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s North Island. His primary blog, Pohanginapete, is about travelling, thinking, mountains and mountaineering, photography, Aotearoa-NZ, natural history, people, a wee bit of politics, life in general and a swag of other stuff. It has lots of photos, too. The Ruins of the Moment is Pete’s photoblog