RIP Mill Road Fox, a fleeting public mourns your death

A fox who had been visiting houses on our street was hit by a car early this morning, presumably by someone speeding over a bridge that had only recently been reopened to traffic. I was walking past this evening and found the fox’s death had been commemorated in a way I found really touching:

I guess this is trivial in the scheme of things but I found it a moving example of what civic concern can look like in the heavily networked 2020s, from the whatsapp group and hyperlocal social media in which people shared the news and sadness at it through to the impulse to mark the event on the pavement in this way. I began thinking about this last year when I encountered a water vole that was sitting in the middle of a path in a nature reserve. I was the second person to stop, with more soon joining us, concerned a dog might go for the small animal and wondering if it was stunned in some way. These are fleeting publics which arise out of a shared concern for animals and they make the public sphere feel somewhat less evacuated than it has tended to over these last 18 months.

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