fox story

I’ve seen the whole fox family for myself now. Seems like they’ve done me a favor, as the farm is overrun with woodchucks, and moved into a vacated woodchuck den. I have a pretty good guess and imagine you also know what happened to those chucks. Trust me, there are tons and tons more, and the law of the wild is one to witness with respect.

It probably would’ve taken me longer to see them, but Holly came up from the garden yesterday out of breath, excited as hell, with her story of seeing what she thought was the mama fox. She pointed to her eyes with two fingers on one hand and then away and said they both froze, eyes locked, for a long moment. The fox broke the gaze first, having somehow decided that Holly wasn’t a threat and went back to tend to whatever it is foxes need to tend to. She said, “they’re underneath your old chicken coop.” I was thrilled, first that they were there and also as I had a story to add to hers, having seen the big fox a few days ago. But now I knew they had set up camp only 50 feet from my house, under the old chicken coop. Kinda ironic, fox in the hen house, and all that, but there they are. Having seen them, they are not only under the chicken coop, but playing all around the sides, behind, and inside it, too.

A few days back, while taking the dogs out on my land in the early morning, I looked to the side and saw a fox. It was a pretty big fox, orange and white, with some black lines, a bushy tail, and with some kind of critter hanging from their mouth. I’ve been told that the male fox will hunt and bring back food, so I think that’s who I saw. The fox I saw later with the kits was a different one, thinner, a deeper orange, so that’s most likely the mother. Oddly, he didn’t see us right away, which was surprising, as I’m standing upright, holding a small black dog on a leash, not twenty feet away. I start fumbling in my coat pocket for my phone to see if I can capture this in a picture, which was a ridiculous and bumbling attempt, and doomed to fail. He is trotting along, and when he finally sees us, what happens next is astonishing and takes only a split second. The fox, now running, does an incredible aerial jump straight up, flies laterally through the air, and lands a few feet to the right, then bolts off on a diagonal and disappears. It was truly jaw-droppingly virtuosic, and I stood for a long time after wishing to catch another glimpse, with Bebe straining against her leash, aching to take chase.

Today I’ve been transfixed for a few hours, curled up by the small window in the upstairs dormer room, glued to binoculars and watching the fox show. I’ve seen at least four of the little ones, called kits; two have white tips on their tails and two just have black tails. They have thick, soft fuzzy fur; one is lighter gray-brown while the others are a darker brown. They play like kittens. I told the folx (not fox) that I hang with to do yoga together that the first kit I saw looked pretty disorganized. Kinda stumbling, and falling over, appearing akin to what I feel sometimes, experiencing the compost of my body and the decay, the disability, the distress. I found these pairs of words that are fascinating and illuminating: eustress and distress, digress and egress. Eustress is considered moderate or normal psychological stress, interpreted as being beneficial for the experiencer, and distress is considered extreme anxiety, pain or sorrow. I ponder these a lot in the physical practices that I do, yoga, dance, walking, farming, trying to figure out which specific practices give way to what. On most days these practices organize me, offering eustress. Other days, I seem to digress from the main subject temporarily, which I define as my feeling state, to follow the distractions I create, chase, am addicted to, in order to leave the discomfort, escape the sorrow. In contrast, egress is considered a path, or opening for going out; an exit. And ya know, this is what I’d like my physical practices to do, to organize me actually on a path, but not by losing the play, the wobbling, the falling over, all of that. I’m sad to think that the kits will outgrow their drunken, silly games and learn to pace restlessly, like the big fox. I see that sometimes happening to me, and I’d rather regress, thank you, to stay kit-like, unsteady, playful and unpredictable.