I was busy doing Very Important Work—okay, fine, I was working the Sunday crosswords—when I heard birds squawking and the neighbor dogs barking up a storm. Nala was inside so she and I rushed to the patio door to see if Timmy fell in a well or something.
It took a minute for me to see him, but the most elegant fox crossed our yard and hopped the fence into the open space behind us.
He—or she, I’m not sure—has been visiting us sporadically these last couple of months. The other day hubs and I were watching TV and Mr Fox trotted right across the patio like he owned the place.
He moves at a pretty good clip so I’ve never been able to get a good picture of him, unlike the deer who stand there forever posing for me. (Why they think I want a picture of them eating my lilacs I’ll never know. The jerks.)
We get quite a bit of wildlife around here at Casa Clark. I absolutely love to see the fox, but I am a bit nervous to think Nala might be out back on one of her walkabouts when he decides to visit. They’re close in size, but Nala might have a few pounds and couple inches on him.
My brother told me a story about my niece when she was a toddler. She was playing with a stick in the dirt, sitting on the shore while he fished. He looked back and she was perfectly fine, then he looked back again almost immediately and there was a fox sitting by her side, like he’d been there all day.
I could be wrong, but I don’t think Mr Fox is a threat like the coyotes who visit us. The coyotes scare me. They’re wily, and Nala is … um … not. We hear them howl and it’s so mournful and spooky. I’ve heard they will watch and learn your daily habits so they know when to come snatch up your chihuahua or toddler. Creepy.
We camped a lot when I was growing up and I loved getting up before the sun with my dad. He always had a pot of coffee going, and it was such a treat to sit there with him, sipping joe out of our tin cups while the world woke up. I knew to be quiet that early and one time Dad just pointed across the way at a fat porcupine waddling past, paying us no heed. Almost before he was out of sight, Dad pointed the other direction and there was a skunk picking his way through our campsite, not four feet from where we sat. We held our breath, but he kept a steady pace until he disappeared into the woods.
As an adult, during the Summer of the Skunks (when a wildlife guy came and trapped 38 mommy and baby skunks between our yard and two neighbors—I know!), I learned that skunks aren’t afraid of anything. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Especially not our two dogs who smelled faintly of skunk the rest of their lives.
I grew up in Colorado, and after moving around a bit, having a couple of kids, we were lucky that my company moved us back. But within a couple months, I questioned if we’d done the right thing because in one week there’d been a mountain lion loping down our street, a bull snake that stretched almost the entire way across our driveway, and our dogs kept killing prairie dogs and proudly presenting them to us.
Yikes. Any one of those gives me the willies, but all three? Oy vey.
A few years ago we even had a moose family wandering our town!
I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, except that I think sometimes I need to be reminded what a fascinating and marvelous natural world we live in, especially when we’re bombarded with deadlines and headlines, and concrete and steel so much of the time.
What kind of wildlife do you have where you live? Is there something you’d like to see up close and personal in your back yard?
all photos courtesy of the fine folks at Pexels