On my way home from the bookstore this evening, I decided to pull into the driveway backwards so that the Jeep would be facing outward, something I do whenever I get the chance. This evening I spied something unusual in my headlights, low to the ground and skulking, running across Frederick Road: a red fox, plain as day, watching me warily over its shoulder as it padded over to the opposite side of the street. Due to the arc of my turn, I put the Jeep in reverse and followed it easily with my headlights as it ran across lawns to the lawn of the church, then did a circuit of the pine tree there before disappearing into its foliage.

We’ve known we have a fox for a neighbor for some time now—we saw one repeatedly last year out the kitchen window and assumed it was living under our neighbor’s porch. We’ve also seen tracks that are too big for a cat and too small for a dog in fresh morning snow through the backyard, so it’s no surprise this one is around. Something told me, though, that this was something I was meant to see, so I did a little research. This site has a lot of good information on foxes, including the observation that they’re great for hunting varmints, something our yard has in abundance. This is also prime birthing season, which means I may have seen a parent out hunting for dinner (sorry, the garbage cans are empty, pal, but I’d be happy to introduce you to the chipmunks digging condos under the maple in the backyard.)

The idea of totems is relatively new to me, and something I don’t usually consider much. The last couple of weeks have me looking for some higher meanings, though—a recent influx of work has me considering my karma, and a current project is testing my patience, professionalism, and good judgement. A cursory search in Google brings up lots of crunchy new-age babblings about spirits and raibows and faeries; yeah, OK, whatever.

The general consensus seems to be that it’s a powerful totem and one that is clever and crafty. If I could get some clever and crafty to rub off on me right now, that would be great, because I’m not feeling so sharp lately. I’ve had a few things happen this week that are making me question my own intelligence, but I’ve been able to recover without bringing shame upon my dojo. So maybe this is a sign that I’ve got to tap a little more of my clever and crafty for the future. The Internets also say the fox teaches one how to slip out of unpleasant situations quietly. This talent would normally be be fine, but I’m having some problems with accountability right now, so I figure it’s telling me not to fade out, but step up to the plate more consistently. Which means I have a dreaded phone call to make tomorrow morning.

Cleverness, discretion, cunning, quick wit, camouflage: I could have used some of these things for a 1½ phone conversation this afternoon…where were you then, my little friend? Oh, that’s right, I was looking out the window, waiting for someone to make a 10-minute point, and I saw a woodpecker. Woodpecker? Sensitivity, protection, devotion…How does that help me with this stuff? Mother Earth, what the hell are you trying to tell me?

Date posted: April 4, 2007 | Filed under life | Comments Off on You Ain’t In The City No More, Boy

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