By Heidi Trautmann
We live in Yesiltepe, that is Green Hills – about 150 m above sea level. Around our land a small river has dug its bed, completely dry now. The bamboo there growing since ages along its bed is in a very sad state and has lost all its lustrous green. Also the frogs don’t make their music any longer. Some years ago my husband has imported the spawn of the green ‚singing frog’ in a jam glass from Bellapais. No trace of them is left, no evidence of them for three years. There is no more water, in the summer season we had to buy our water for the garden.
We have a natural biotope in our valley (derived from Greek bios (life) topos (place). My husband has kept the valley path free from black berry bushes, down to the riverbed and up to Ilgaz. There we encountered small wild life such as quails, partridges, frangolins, mice, rats, badgers, snakes, lizards, and we learnt to distinguish the sounds they give off. And often we saw foxes in the valley, also stray dogs left running wild or lost by hunters.
When the hunting season is on, we avoid being around the valley although there is hardly anything left to shoot at. During these dangerous days the birds take refuge in our big garden and I warn them: Chums, keep to yourself and hold your tongue, the hunters are around.
The birds visiting and honouring our garden and the area above us, are rooks, jays, magpies, small owls with their uh-uh-uh at night, small falcons, sometimes nightingales, robins, swallows and sparrows and all sorts of migrating singing birds. Some of them I got to know better and more intimate when they hit and hurt their small heads on our glass door panes. I treated their swelling bruises with ice and saw to it that the cats were out of the way. One day in summer a quail lady came to the swimming pool for want of a drink while I was in it. Desperately it went up and down the length of the pool but couldn’t reach the water surface. So I got out and filled a bowl with water.
It is for me a sign of alarm. Many of the animals I am speaking of are no longer here, although some of them come back in the rainy season. When there is no water, animals come to the houses and look for water, mice and rats bite holes into the water hoses. Where there used to be water, there are no more insects, no small game for bigger animals.
So, one late summer evening, while we were sitting on our terrace, there was a small fox coming towards us from the ravine, a young one we could see, which has most probably lost the mother. We called him Foxy and gave him some diluted milk to drink and some pieces of bread. A very small creature with thin black legs, giant ears and shy but unblinking eyes. We took some photos but did not try to get too close to him nor touch him.
He came back every night from then on and as our doors are always open in the warm season he even entered our living room but that was not too much to his liking. Our cats Max and Moritz have accepted him and have no problems to eat from their bowls right next to him.
I never give him meat or bones, he is supposed to take his necessary share from nature. Now, that the rainy season has started we hope that he will find enough to make him grow up to a proper fox size. This is all just my own theoretical idea. In the meantime, we are in the month of December, our friends have become fans of Foxy and go out into the garden and call him when they are with us. I wonder if they come for him, truly.
What does it mean to us, I ask myself. The few small wild life we have around us are not safe in their habitat any longer, they must come to us for food and water. There are the many new houses built reducing nature to a minimum, the water shortage due to reduced rainfall over the last years has caused a reduction of natural food supply to many animals so they move away or die. We hardly had any mosquitos or flies this last summer, everybody of us four legged inhabitants will have appreciated that but not the birds.
Perhaps the reason for Foxy to come to us is because he lost his mother. And nothing else.
It was yesterday evening that I went out onto the terrace in order to look up at the sky, I saw Foxy sitting relaxed on our blue wooden bench and who most obviously had the same in mind. He was not getting up and running away but stayed next to me and we both listened to the soft sound of rain. May heaven grant us enough rain to fill our rivers and reservoirs, to make the frogs come back and sing for us, and to make the animals like our Foxy find his own life in nature and here and there a nice fat mouse to keep him company.
We got very much used to him and his evening visits and we sincerely hope that he will continue to come and see us.