A sweet-smelling garden at night. Beneath the stars, a hedgehog makes its rounds. Enough in themselves to provide a perfectly suitable Explanation of Life.
The garden is mysterious at night
And scented! and scented! in the night of stars.
The hedgehog snuffles somewhere among leaves,
Just by the arch-way. So it is with time
-- Mute night and then a voice that says nothing,
Busying itself, complaining and insisting:
When this has end, silence will come again.
C. H. Sisson, Collected Poems (Carcanet 1998).
To think of Time as a hedgehog making its patient, imperturbable way through a garden, beneath a starry sky, is a fine image indeed, and is quite comforting.
"Those of us who have allowed our minds to be besotted by the pressure of personal affairs, who perhaps are wasting our time in amassing wealth that we can never hope to enjoy, might well have our folly corrected by an accidental glimpse of this self-contained individualist in his shirt of thorns moving out of the cavernous shadows of some cool odorous flower-bed.
Through the trembling leaves of the garden trees the summer stars shine bright on the outlandish back of the small quadruped, impressing the conscious intelligence with a clear comprehension of the wealth of earth-poetry revealed by the mere existence of so fabulous an urchin directing its activities by the light of the Milky Way."
Llewelyn Powys, "Hedgehogs."