Friday, May 26, 2006

A Break in the Rain

Rumor has long had it that a pair of foxes live in the cemetery where I walk. I've never seen them, despite having been there many mornings when the gates opened at 7:30, hoping for a fleeting glimpse of red fur before the runners and maintenance guys materialize.

This afternoon, the strep and congestion and coughing pretty much behind me and a day's downpour having transformed itself into sunshine, I decided a l-o-n-g walk in the cemetery was in order. The hill at the end is pretty steep, and I was looking at my feet, and thinking about how I was going to die before I made it up the 700 steps to the top (yes, I've counted), when I glanced up and there, about 50 feet in front of my binocular-less, camera-less self, was a fox.

"Well, hi," I said in delight.

And then there was another. And another. And another. And another. FIVE fox kits!

They live in a hollowed-out tree. They act just like kittens -- they stretch and they scratch and they roll over and they bump into each other and they flop down with all four paws and chin flat out on the grass.

I don't know how old they are. They seem pretty big, but they stuck together and they didn't leave the immediate circumference of their tree. I watched for as long as I could, using a large rectangular monument as a blind. At one point, there was a thump! next to me and two of them dove into their den, but then a pair of ears popped back up. (The thump? A cedar waxwing had dropped dead out of the tree above me. That poor bird had probably traveled through the thunderstorms last night en route to Canada, and was just too stressed to last the day.)

Eventually I had to leave. The cemetery closes at 5:30 and the kits seemed to be alert and hopeful, waiting for their parents. My guess was that the parents were concealed nearby and waiting for me to leave.

I'm hoping for a clear morning tomorrow, and to post some of my own pictures a little later.


Echo said...

Could you send me a bit of rain please. I wouldn't mind a fox or two either.
Here we delight in quail and porcupines. But right now even the cactus have cinched their belts and are looking pallid and starved.

Virginia said...

Many times the most magical things I see are when I am camera-less. I guess its the universe telling me to just be in the moment.

Fox are so beautiful, aren't they?

Peace, Virginia

tess said...

What a treat! Hope you get to see them again.

Paul said...

Hamlet told Horatio that there's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow, so there must be even more providence in the fall of a cedar waxwing.

Lisa C. said...

How wonderful for you to see that! I hope you can get photos next time. A few years ago, we had to camp for my son's Cub Scouts. I was uncomfortable the whole night, but then Christian and I got up at dawn to take a walk. We came upon two deer in the mist. It was very cool and made the experience worthwhile. But it still took my back a couple of days to recover from sleeping on the ground! :)

Quotidian Grace said...

Very cool picture!!

Julia said...

what incredible pictures! They look just like curious little puppies!