This morning I was propped against the kitchen sink a good 40 minutes before dawn, waiting for my tea to finish steeping and gazing sleepily out the window, when something way too big to be a cat went bound—bound—bound through the unbroken snow in the back yard.
It disappeared around the side of the house before I had a chance to do more than gasp, “That’s a fox!!!!!!”
I raced to the front door, but it must have veered south and I didn’t see it again. There was too little daylight–and it happened too quickly–to tell if the fox was gray or red, but my money’s on red based on previous sightings in the neighborhood.
Later I went out to examine its tracks. Turns out a fox track in foot-deep snow is a series of long, indistinct body and tail impressions–not a paw print to be found. If I hadn’t seen it breaking trail, I wouldn’t have known what I was looking at.
Today’s fox wasn’t my first sighting in the back yard. Maybe ten years ago, around the same time of day and same time of year, I spotted one streaking along the retaining wall at the back of the property. And three or four years ago, during a twilight walk down the parkway, I had the magical experience of observing a parent fox (red) and three kits playing fox tag.
But even if this neighborhood fox wasn’t my first, it still felt very special in the depths of winter, and I’m glad I forced myself out of bed when the alarm went off. It just goes to show that you have no idea what the day will bring; I thought I was getting up early just to write Morning Pages.
Alas, there was no time to get a photo. As a substitute, click here to see a photo my blogger friend Anne M. Leone caught of her fox, Robert, standing guard over his litter.
© 2011 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go