morning encounter

We’ve seen you before Mr. Fox. You are large and fluffy and have eyes that gleam. Your thick winter fur switches between gold and red and begs an unwise man to pet you. Our typical encounter begins with us spotting you, stopping for pleasantries from many yards away, and then you skittering away into the brush. We enjoy these encounters, Parker and I. They bring us delight and make the human among us feel connected to nature.

Our relationship changed this morning Mr. Fox. We did not see you at first. You surely saw us. Taking our morning jaunt in the dark for the doggie constitutional and heading back on the lamp-lit path, there you were stalking us. You froze. We froze too. In anticipation of our typical greeting, I said hello but you had other plans.

And follow us you did, as my canine companion pulled and pulled to greet you. But his smart Mama knew better. You did not yield to my bark and my often moderately aggressive lab-pit bull pal chose this day of all days to be mute. So you followed us some more. Pursuing us as if to say, “come play my nocturnal friends”. But this human, full of pulsing adrenaline, was not interested in a mammalian play-date at six o’clock in the morning. So I pulled along my fifty-five  pound partner, even knocking into a large, orange traffic barrel to move away from you. You crept nearer. But you could not be victorious.

We finally lost your pursuing fox feet when the lights of the oncoming traffic were too much for you to bear. My heart leaped in fear as their headlights reflected in your eyes. For though you caused heart palpitations in me this morning, I certainly want you to live a long and happy foxy life. A smart fox you are, you rushed off to the trees out of harm’s way.

As our walk continued and my heart slowed, I felt an odd sense of wonder at what would cause your morning pursuit. I pray only that your intent was good and not that you have been inflicted by something quite terrible. Stay in the forest, Mr. Fox. I’m sorry we, the humans, have taken so much of it away. Find a foxy lady friend and make more foxes. We will encounter you again, but only at a distance for our morning greetings. Then off on our separate ways.

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