The weather was perfect for this morning’s run – 68 degrees (20 N), perfect blue skies, green fields, surrounded by spring flowers, and glittering blue seas. And I almost tripped over my first lizard of the year, so that means it’s Spring.

The tendency of creatures to dash across the paths of runners is a global phenomenon. In California (Stanford campus), the threat is ground squirrels – skinny little brutes that live in burrows and move in flocks. In Minneapolis (banks of Mississippi) solitary ground hogs – very friendly, corpulent creatures – lumber in front of you. In Virginia small yappy dogs give chase (until squirted with water bottle). In England (Oxfordshire) in spring it’s baby rabbits that roll underfoot while fighting – plus I was once narrowly missed by a roe deer. In London (Hyde Park) the threat is tourists, from, er, Northern Europe.

This suicidal behavior in such a wide range of species seems abnormal – Mrs G’s says it’s blind panic, but refuses to elaborate…


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