Monday, October 20, 2008
October 15, 2008
This past week was exceptional in regards to sunrises and sunsets. Wednesday morning was the first where I was able to rise before dawn, ready for the show. This peach sunrise was soft and sweet and chilly, which set the stage for a lovely walk with Baylee after coffee. The Giraffe Head Tree seemed to be enjoying the view as much as me. This inspired me to once again rise before dawn for walking, despite the odd ambling armadillos and sneaky feral cats that make Baylee try to remove my right arm from its socket as she bolts for a chase.
So, Friday morning I woke unbidden at 5am and knew it was the day for a pre-dawn walk. Saddling up Baylee, clean-up bags in hand, I donned a jacket and stole out the front door heading for the marina. My idea was to stay on the main road, which is level and well lighted, and keep my hand on the leash loose in case Baylee darts after some hapless creature.
The eastern sky was just beginning to change to rose when we crossed into the next phase of the neighborhood. Suddenly, up ahead about 50 yards I see something standing in the roadway watching our approach. I stop, Baylee stops, the world stops. The night is perfectly quiet as we all wonder what to do. The creature makes the first move. Oh great, I think, it's a cat as the small, furry creature begins scurrying toward the common area. No, not a cat but perhaps a small dog. No, not a dog...a coyote? No, too small. It's a fox. A red fox. Small, so it must be a female or a young fox. As she continues her rapid pace down the roadway Baylee and I continue to simply watch her. She ducks out of sight behind some garages and though we cannot see her we can discern her progress by the sound of barking dogs.
When we first moved to the lake a pair of red foxes were frequent visitors. One foggy morning I was standing on our deck and watched as the male padded down to our lower deck. Red foxes are so beautiful, and these were a well-behaved couple. As the neighborhood grew the foxes retreated more into the forest so I was amazed to see one visiting last week. Obviously, they haven't gone away at all but simply choose their visits at an earlier hour. My friend Carroll was alarmed by the sighting. "What if that fox had rabies?!!!??" I was touched by her concern for my safety. But still...
Yes, foxes can carry rabies but so can the ubiquitous raccoons. The bumbling armadillos carry leprosy, and the squirrels have fleas. So what. We chose to live among nature here, and every sighting is cause for celebration. The neighborhood here has its problems, but every negative is countered by the vast amount of wildlife we are privileged to observe, every breathtaking sunrise and sunset upon the lake, the very wildness of this place that makes us feel awe.
That takes me to my rant - I'm amused by developers who name their monstrous, sterile housing projects after nature. "Fox's Run," "Walden's Wood," "Hawk's Bluff," "The Preserve at Eagle Canyon," etc., when the very creatures after whom they name these developments have long since been run off by the bulldozers and noise, discouraged by the felled trees, and killed by the herbicides and pesticides that turn the ground into lush green lawns devoid of interest, beneficial insects and butterflies. (....no offense intended to anyone with a neatly manicured lawn...I think you know the kind I'm talking about.)
Nature is messy and random - it doesn't have curbs and gutters or a clubhouse. I know that I am atypical when it comes to this subject but somehow seeing that fox and feeling the riot of joy and glee that erupted deep within me made me feel very blessed and whole. Give me foxes any day of the week - you can keep the clubhouse.