Light and shadow.

Especially through Spring and early Summer – a common sight in the countryside are earthworks caused by that most prodigious of earth movers – the Common Mole.  Often I see their excavations but rarely do I see the champion tunnelers out and about in broad daylight. Indeed, my ‘Belladonna Babe’ is thriving in her pot of ‘hand’ prepared soil – scooped directly off the top of a molehill. I’m grateful to “Diggory Delvet” for supplying the richest, crumbliest potting mix ever – it’s better than anything you can buy! With farm labourer-like hands, reddish snouts and real moleskin jackets – they are characterful, hardworking toilers of the soil; I respect Moles – I like them.

Preferring to stay out of direct sunlight on a sweltering hot day myself – I decided on another wander through Ravens’ Haven on Dartmoor – Sunday 5th June 2016.Something about DartmoorNear the edge of the wood – I came across a mole laid-out on top of an old tree stump.  It was a dead mole but fascinating nonetheless; an opportunity to see this subterranean dweller above ground.

In the midst of life we are in death. Light and shade at the edge of a Dartmoor wood.

Light and shadow at the edge of a Dartmoor wood.

The Mole with hands held high as if surrendering to the light – looked like it was offered up as a sacrificial gift to the Sun. Despite its deadness – there was something rather moving about the little man – dare I say it – even beautiful, especially about its dappled situation at the edge of the wood.

Put 'em high.

Put ’em up.

I’m guessing the Ravens had carried it in from elsewhere on the Moor – and laid it to rest on top of their ‘table’.   The deceased mole was in what I refer to as their larder area – and it is always a good place for finding other tell-tale signs of their presence! ST839452

I don’t think Moles are palatable to Ravens because they had left it as they’d found it; only its jaw was noticeably askew and flattened. Disorientated by bright light – Mole had probably strayed onto the busy reservoir road – and waddled ‘straight’ into harm’s way.


While the other inhabitants of Ravens’ Haven appeared to have gone metaphorically underground during the heat of the afternoon – the area of the tree stump was buzzing and fizzing with activity.  With vital work to do – a squadron of attendant ‘blue jackets’ busied themselves with Mole. Mole - Something about Dartmoor

Moving on.


I found a stick in the shape of a sickle –

Sickle - Something about Dartmoorand I gathered a harvest of pristine inky-blue feathers – ST839520and I picked-up an empty nest fallen from a Hawthorn tree. Cupped in a bed of moss and dried leaves – the spun lining was made from pony hair.Nest - Something about DartmoorBack in the wide open space of Walkhampton Common – I stopped-off at the watering hole on the main road.   In the shadow of Sharpitor – a pair of cows cooled-off in the shallows. Contented cow - Sharpitor. Something about Dartmoor

While ponies quenching their thirst, sent ripples across the mirror-like surface. Dartmoor Ponies near Sharpitor - Something about Dartmoor

I pondered what it must be like to be a Mole and live your whole life scurrying in the darkness below ground – digging endless tunnels.  It seems such an arduous, limited life and for the most part a solitary one.  To not see all the beauty and light above and to feel the warmth of the Sun on your back – I really can’t imagine a mole’s existence. If there is no light at the end of the tunnel – then maybe death is easier if you’re a Mole?  Sort of home from home – an eternal blackness but without the work.  RIP Moley.ST839445

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