I couldn’t quite make out what it was. Was it a woman crying? I continued walking towards it. Was it someone playing some music? Could it be music? My mother used to describe the Kate Bush albums I played as a teenager as sounding like that. Caterwauling, she called it. And that was exactly what the sound was. A cat. I could see it now. It was on the bottom of Penglais Hill. There were two of them. A black one and a ginger one. I couldn’t make out who was making the sound. A guttural, then a kind of growling sound, which would break out into a sort of yelling. It wasn’t in danger clearly but it was warning the other off. Was it a female on heat? Who knows? It’s a world we have no access to. And the night is their time. They can see. They prowl. They hunt. A vicious time, I think. No wonder they sleep during the day.

The air was warm again. Though there was a chill breeze. I watched the shadow of a single leaf still clinging to a branch jostle and dance precariously in the wind. Is the eventual break from its mother tree a painful one for a leaf, or is it a release? A pleasant falling?

She was lovely to listen to. She sounded kind. I will read her book. So much delight in the return of so many species, the butterflies, the birds, the mushrooms and wild flowers. Do they get cornflowers too? And wild poppies? And then there was her mother and the ‘Fine Cell Work’ project. Sounds fascinating. Perhaps I could get involved. The Magna Carta one is amazing. What a feat. I need that mass.

We had to sit on our hands, she kept saying, and do nothing. Leave it alone. Leave the land alone to heal. Heal itself. I remember that from school. Sitting on your hands was a punishment. A don’t touch penance.

A busy day today. Breathe through it. All will be well.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.