It is the holiday season again. This time it’s a period of chaos, violence, and confusion. But sometimes, living in a forest as I do, I get a glimpse of nature in all its living beauty, its calming beauty.
So, it was this gray (9 am) morning, cloudy, with light snow falling — on yesterday’s snow — when I descended from our second floor to the first. At the bottom of the steps is a heavy door, set with double glass, which opens onto a side porch and beyond. As I reached the main floor I looked out. Sitting there, staring into our house, was a red fox.
I stared back.
She/he (?) was with winter coat, a deep rusty red, dark paws, a white chest, and a thick, big bushy gray tail. Perky ears. Long red snout, white fringed, black nose leather. A very beautiful creature. Inscrutable expression.
The two of us just looked at one another.
(I can’t show you because I’m not one of those people who carries a camera in my hip pocket 24/7. I prefer to look and shape a memory.)
I knew what I was seeing. What did the fox see?
When the fox moved away, I went out because I had a chore to which I needed to attend. The fox was gone.
But as I was coming back from attending to my task — walking along the driveway — the fox reappeared, saw me, and stopped, perhaps fifteen feet away. Once again we looked at one another. Had it come back to give me a message?
“Good morning, fox,” I said in an even voice. “Nice to see you. Off to work? Hunting for food? Merry Christmas!”
The fox — who must have heard me — came slowly forward, stopped — ten feet away — then turned, and made a wide circle around me, its light weight allowing her to walk atop the snow. No panic. No alarm, just a slow trot with an occasional glance at me, before disappearing over a hill.
I came back inside and sat down at my desk. That fox and I both had work to do.
But I felt privileged to have shared a moment of calm nature in all its beauty. For a moment the world’s chaos retreated.
May you all find such moments this coming year.