Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Refuge for a Fox

Photo found several places with no photographer credit.
A full day of mowing was a third gone when from the tall grass sprung a burnt orange fox. Fifty feet at a time it would dash then stop to see if I was still there. Our individual paces matching, the fire on four legs was exasperated.

Obviously trying to tell me something, I eased off the throttle. So did the fox. Again, I pulled a few hundred rpm and again the little streak did too. This continued a few more times until I had no more to give. I was stopped. So was my friend.
Staring at me staring at him, or maybe her, it was obvious our message to each other was understood. I wished it no harm. It wished to carry on with life.

No longer sensing danger, it casually trotted about. My presence accepted, its mission continued.

Forward, half a turn left, then right, then forward again, the long orange tail followed the slender body, which followed the head, which turned with every move of its ears. Eagerly I watched as sound steered it along a path I recognized. Where it hunted was a known colony of moles.

Occasionally stopping to look my direction, much the way an intelligent dog looks for approval, it seemed to want me to watch, and so, I did. Turning and jinking, its ears redirected it faster and faster, until suddenly, it froze. Motionless and focused, it appeared as statue of an animal living its life.

On display was a healthy body so slender a person unused to foxes may believe it sick. Its rakish head and tapered ears juxtaposed the other end. Round, fluffy, and long, its tail so attractive people once nearly wiped its predecessors from the Earth in pursuit of it. Today though, this fox was the featured piece in an outdoor art museum, a refuge for wonderful things.
BAMM!  Mesmerized by stillness of the creature, I jumped when it came instantly back to life. Its nose buried into the ground, the body and tail appearing to push it deeper. Determined, it went sharply about its target. Then, for the briefest second, it froze again.

Having rocketed after its target, over a short bank, I could see the top of its head as it jerked its muzzle free from the ground. Did it have something? I could only hope, but expected it to trot away without knowing.

Instead, the fox reaffirmed my belief. Somehow we had communicated, or at least understood enough about each other to leave the other alone. Lifting up its head, looking back at me from over the bank, it took four spritely steps to level ground to show me the prize. Draping from its mouth was a mole.

Staring at each other, I laughed aloud. The fox, seeming to recognize my approval, gave the mole a shake, turned, and vanished into the tall grass along the runway - neither of us harmed by the other, and both better off for it.


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